Archive for May 20th, 2012

All-time top 10 IPOs for Internet companies

Facebook Inc. and its shareholders raised $16 billion in an initial public offering of stock. It is the largest IPO by far for an Internet company. The amount raised comes from how many shares were sold by the company and its early investors — 421.2 million — at the IPO price of $38.

Shares sold in an IPO are typically just a fraction of the total shares a company has issued. That’s why, at an IPO price of $38 per share, all of Facebook’s share give the company an initial market value of $104 billion.

More shares, known as an overallotment, have been set aside if demand is heavy. If they are all sold, the IPO will raise $18.4 billion.

Here are the rest of the top 10 Internet IPOs, according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO investment adviser:

Google Inc., IPO on Aug. 18, 2004, $1.67 billion raised.

Yandex N.V., IPO on May 23, 2011, $1.3 billion raised.

Infonet Services Corp. (now part of BT Group PLC), IPO on Dec. 15, 1999, $1.08 billion raised.

Shanda Games Ltd., IPO on Sept. 24, 2009, $1.04 billion raised.

Zynga Inc., IPO on Dec. 15, 2011, $1 billion raised.

Giant Interactive Group Inc., IPO on Oct. 31, 2007, $887 million raised.

Renren Inc., IPO on May 3, 2011, $743 million raised.

Groupon Inc., IPO on Nov. 3, 2011, $700 million raised.

Orbitz Worldwide Inc., IPO on July 19, 2007, $510 million raised.

Source: Renaissance Capital

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Zynga Comes Out With ZombieSmash And Fruit Ninja Combo Zombie Swipeout

Leave it to a couple of bioinformatics Ph.D. holders to develop a couple of zombie-themed iOS games. I am, of course, referring to the aptly named GameDoctors, which consists of brothers Matthias and Thomas Hoechsmann. GameDoctors has just released its sort of sequel to its 2010 smash hit ZombieSmash, Zombie Swipeout. Zombie Swipeout is the German studio’s first game launched under its new designation, Zynga Mobile Germany. If you’re wondering what the name of the well-known social gaming giant is doing in the new name of GameDoctors, the reason is quite obvious. Thanks in no small part to the success of the comedic castle defense game ZombieSmash, the studio was acquired by Zynga some months ago. Zombie Swipeout, whose launch trailer appears below, may be appropriately described as a cross between ZombieSmash and Fruit Ninja. If you’re familiar with the popular fruit slicing game, I need not remind you that it’s made by neither Zynga Mobile Germany nor Zynga itself, but by Halfbrick Studios. It’s quite tempting, then, to immediately label Zombie Swipeout as a Fruit Ninja knockoff. In response to this matter, Matthias said to Pocket Gamer, “We know the competition … You have to innovate to be successful. We have to come with something that moves the bar.”

Among the variations offered in Zombie Swipeout is the inclusion of coins to be slashed along with the pesky zombies. Typical of Zynga games, these coins can be used to buy special weapons and power-ups in the in-game store. Keep in mind, though, that whatever weapon or power-up you’re using, don’t ever slice Joey, the lone good guy from ZombieSmash. But in the event that you do cut Joey in half, you can opt to resurrect him with some virtual currency as, fittingly enough, a zombie. The game also has a weekly tournament that pits you against your friends via Facebook or through the game’s own social component. Zombie Swipeout is already available in the Canadian App Store. It’s set to be released across the rest of the App Store world within the next few days. Will a heap of slashed zombies a day keep the doctor away?

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Making money in mobile to be Facebook’s challenge

NEW YORK: With Internet users increasingly going mobile, a major challenge for Facebook will be trying to make money from its massive global presence in a more complex mobile space.

Facebook, which makes most of its money from advertising, says more than half, 488 million, of its 901 million members access the service from a mobile phone or tablet. Of these, 83 million use only mobile devices instead of computers.

But while 82 percent of Facebook revenue comes from ads, the company acknowledges that it gets little income from the mobile space. “We have historically not shown ads to users accessing Facebook through mobile apps or our mobile website,” the California firm said in a filing for its initial public offering.

“In March 2012, we began to include sponsored stories in users’ mobile news feeds. However, we do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven.”

Facebook says a big issue looking ahead is being able to get mobile revenue and that its revenue “may be negatively affected unless and until we are successful with monetization strategies for mobile usage of Facebook.”

Most analysts note that advertising has not yet become adapted to mobile devices in the same way it has on computers. “Last time I checked, mobile phones had really small screens,” said Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities.

Van Baker, an analyst with the Gartner consultancy, said so-called monetization will be critical for Facebook, which has “some catching up to do” with firms like Google and Apple.

Baker said Facebook needs to find mobile ads that are “not intrusive” and pointed to Google and Apple as using a type of mobile banner ad that “takes up a very small amount of screen real estate.”

Google is seen as having a strong mobile platform, and recently decided to integrate its mobile, search and other services in an effort to offer more targeted ads, a move that drew criticism from privacy advocates.

London-based Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers said in a client note that converting Facebook’s mobile traffic into income “is perhaps one of the company’s largest, and currently perplexing, challenges.”

“Facebook was not conceived in the smartphone era and therefore did not have it in mind as a platform. It has catching up to do and, if possible, without cannibalizing its own current income from the PC space,” the brokerage said.

The company could address the issue by purchasing apps that may offer other revenue sources such as the photo app Instagram, Tagtile, for tracking customer loyalty, and Glancee, an app for locating nearby friends.

Forrester Research analyst Melissa Parrish said, however, that the solution for Facebook in the mobile space “is probably something that we all haven’t been thinking of yet.”

“What’s really compelling is the possibility that they will either figure out a way to monetize mobile that is not sponsored or advertising-based.”

Parrish said Facebook could choose to offer marketers “a richer insight about the customers,” or improve the “connection” between users and marketers. “It isn’t just about sticking ads in the news feed. If anybody is going to innovate around a product like that, I think that Facebook is a contender.”

But Baker said that for Facebook, there is no sense of urgency in finding a mobile strategy. “The company has a reasonable revenue stream, they’ve got an enormous base to monetize this, and then they’re going to reap a huge amount of money with the IPO,” he said.

“I think they’re going to be very cautious about it. They can take as much time as they want.”

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GameStop offers, then removes AT&T mobile data plans

It seems that GameStop plans on offering AT&T data plans for mobile devices under a service called GameStop Mobile, according to information posted on their website. The information has since been pulled, but not before our friends at Engadget reported on it. So, as long as GameStop Mobile continues to not be a reality, we will continue reporting the information we’ve yet to learn about the service. Hypothetically-speaking, GameStop Mobile would require AT&T-compatible or unlocked devices. The service would probably include pay-as-you-go five dollar plans and $55 monthly plans, which would include unlimited voice and text and 500MB of data, or 1GB of data for data-only device users. The someday-news of GameStop Mobile would make more sense out of the company’s recent addition of Android devices to their trade-in lists.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg marries girlfriend Priscilla Chan

NEW YORK: Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg updated his relationship status on his social networking site to ‘married’ – after he tied the knot with his long time girlfriend 27-year-old Priscilla Chan in a private ceremony at his California home. The surprising move came just a day after Facebook went public through one of the largest initial public offerings and its shares began trading on the Nasdaq. Zuckerberg wrote about the big event in his life on his Facebook timeline, with a status update that read, “Married Priscilla Chan” on May 19. The ceremony took place in Zuckerberg’s backyard at his Palo Alto home in California before fewer than 100 guests on Saturday. An accompanying picture shows a smiling Zuckerberg dressed in a simple dark blue suit, white shirt and wearing a tie. Chan is in an elegant sleeveless laced white wedding gown with a veil falling over her shoulders. A string of bulbs are hung in the background which is Zuckerberg’s backyard. The picture got over 131,000 likes within the first 30 minutes of Zuckerberg posting the status update. The couple met at Harvard and have been together for more than nine years. Chan’s Facebook page also had the updated relationship status with the message “married to Mark Zuckerberg.” The marriage capped an extremely eventful week for the couple. Zuckerberg celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday, May 14. Days later Facebook, which was founded by Zuckerberg in 2004 in his Harvard dorm, became went public through an IPO that pegged the value of the world’s most popular social network site at 104 billion dollars. The same week Chan graduated from the University of California, San Francisco. Chan studied medicine and is now a doctor of pediatrician. On her graduation day, Zuckerberg had written on his Facebook page, “I am so proud of you Dr Chan.”

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