社会媒体是下一个网络泡沫?

Social media site Facebook has been much in the news of late. Its creation was the subject of what many predict will be an Oscar-winning movie. Its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was recently dubbed Time Magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year. And now, thanks to a $500 million infusion of capital from Goldman Sachs and Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies, Facebook is reportedly worth $50 billion.

社交网站Facebook最近有很多好消息。由Facebook为原型而创作的《社交网络》被外界预测将会赢得奥斯卡最佳电影奖。其创办人马克·扎克伯格,最近当选《时代》周刊年度人物。由于获得了高盛和俄罗斯投资公司 Digital Sky Technologies 5 亿美元的注资,现在Facebook的估值高达500亿美元。

Oh, really?

真的吗?

If that $50 billion valuation is accurate, Facebook is now worth more than Yahoo!, eBay and Time Warner, and is running up hard against such Internet giants as Amazon and targeted rival Google.

如果500亿美元的估值准确的话,那么它现在可能超过了Yahoo、eBay和时代华纳的市值,成为上升最快的互联网公司,能与互联网巨擘如亚马逊和Google相匹敌。

But what is that valuation based on? Some media experts have compared Facebook with Disney, valued at about $70 billion. But Disney has real, tangible assets—parks, hotels, cruise ships, iconic images to market on everything from T shirts to tableware, and a massive library of classic animated films—to back its assessed value. Facebook has a virtual network that, according to Time, links one-twelfth of the world’s population. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook still has enormous infrastructure costs that include as much as $700 million for two data centers, and its profits have yet to be publicly disclosed. When an investor buys a piece of Facebook, what exactly does that investor get?

但是它的价值从何而来?一些媒体资深人士将它和市值700亿美元的迪士尼对比。迪士尼拥有真正的,看得见的有形资产——公园、酒店、旅游船、标志性影像,在市场上的任何东西从T恤衫到餐具,甚至还有大量的经典迪士尼动画,这些都是它的资产。而Facebook只有虚拟的网络,引用《时代》周刊的话说,将全球十二分之一的人聚集在一起。但是华尔街日报称Facebook仍然拥有大量基础设施建设资金包括用7亿美元修建2个数据中心,目前它的盈利状况还公开披露。当投资者买了Facebook的股份,他能从中得到什么?

The sudden, meteoric explosion in value of online social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is eerily reminiscent of the rise, about 15 years ago, of the online businesses that created the “dotcom bubble.” The Internet was far less widely used than it is today, with many consumers feeling a little queasy about sharing personal and credit-card information with businesses that lacked brick-and-mortar facilities. Still, visionaries saw the potential for the Internet we have today, so virtual companies sprung up and grew like weeds as investors threw money their way。

这突如其来,如昙花一现般的现象激增了在线社交网站像Facebook和Twitter的价值,他们的快速成长引发人们可怕的联想:15年前,网上企业引发了“互联网泡沫”。当时互联网远没有像今天这样被广泛使用,许多消费者对没有营业场所的公司做交易而去分享个人身份和信用卡信息都有一些担忧。可是有远见的投资家们都看到了互联网的潜在价值,他们纷纷把钱投进去,很多虚拟公司如雨后春笋般冒出来。

Some, like Google and Amazon, developed an enduring online presence and lasting financial value. But far too many—GeoCities, Freeinternet.com, theGlobe.com, and others—quickly lost value when it became apparent that their rapid growth wasn’t yielding revenue. Investors who sold their dotcom stocks before the bubble burst made fortunes—those who didn’t lost their shirts.

一些像Google和Amazon的互联网公司,已经发展成为一种长久的网上业务和永久的财金融价值体系。但远远不够的是——像GeoCities,GeoCities, Freeinternet.com, theGlobe.com等其他互联网公司——当他们的快速成长明显不能和收入成正比的时候,很快就失去他们的价值了。投资者们在泡沫危机来临之前纷纷抛售他们的互联网股票来赚钱,这样他们就不会失去一切。

So, how much is Facebook’s network of users really worth? The potential is clear—when so many people are gathered in one (virtual) place, offering so much personal information about themselves, they create an unprecedented platform for targeted advertising. Or they would, if they were on the network to shop. When eBay and Amazon suggest products to their customers, they’re talking to people who’ve already proven that they’re interested in buying similar products. People go on Facebook for a variety of reasons—to catch up with old friends, share pictures, make new acquaintances, and talk, sometimes endlessly, about themselves. Whether they’ll appreciate having their virtual conversations interrupted by advertising, targeted or not, remains unclear.

那么Facebook社交网络的使用者究竟值多少钱呢?它的潜在价值非常明显——当很多人都聚集在这样一个(虚拟)社区,提供了很多关于他们自己的个人信息,他们创造了一个前所未有的定向广告宣传平台。只要他们愿意,他们就能在网络上宣传他们的产品。当eBay和Amazon向他们的客户推荐产品时,他们就已经在告诉人们有多少人对他们买的相似产品感兴趣。人们上Facebook有各种不同的理由——寻找老朋友、分享图片、结识新朋友,还有聊天,更多的时候是和他们自己有关的事。现在还不清楚他们是否意识到他们的虚拟谈话将会被宣传广告骚扰。

It’s also unclear whether Facebook will actually be able to share information about its users’ browsing habits with advertisers. Complaints about the ineffectiveness of Facebook’s privacy policies have arisen in multiple countries, part of a larger social concern about how private information gets used on line. In December, the Federal Trade Commission issued a proposed framework that, among other things, would permit Facebook users to block advertisers from accessing information about their online interests. If that framework is implemented and widely used by Facebook subscribers, it could seriously impair the site’s value as a potential platform for targeted marketing.

现在也还不清楚Facebook事实上有没有和广告商们分享用户的搜索习惯。Facebook隐私策略的低效在许多国家的抱怨声中持续升温,更多的人关心的是有多少私密信息在网上使用。12月份,美国联邦商务委员会发布了一个拟议的框架,除了用户的个人隐私外,对涉及到用户的网上利益,允许Facebook的用户阻止广告商访问他们的个人信息。如果该框架被实施并被广泛应用到Facebook的订阅者,那将会严重损害这个网站的价值和一个针对目标市场的潜在广告平台。

What is clear is that Goldman Sachs has a significant interest in Facebook’s financial value, at least for the short term. Goldman Sachs’ decision to invest heavily in Facebook has had some interesting repercussions. For one thing, the investment has allowed Facebook an opportunity to postpone issuing an IPO. That means that, at least for the moment, Facebook doesn’t yet have to disclose its finances or publicly address investor complaints.

现在清楚的是,至少在短期内,高盛对Facebook的金融价值非常有兴趣。高盛下决心重磅投资Facebook有一些很有趣的影响。一方面,这次投资给Facebook一个推迟上市的机会。那就意味着,至少在现在,Facebook既没有披露它的财产状况,也没有公开处理投资者的投诉。

The company’s private status may be short-lived, though. The SEC is investigating the secondary market for social media investments, and is reportedly looking at whether Facebook has exceeded the 499-investor threshold for public disclosure. Goldman Sachs reportedly intends to establish a special investment fund that would allow its customers to invest up to $1.5 billion more in Facebook. If the SEC concludes that the fund was created solely to avoid its public disclosure rules, it may choose to look through the fund and force Facebook to go public.
Facebook的私人身份也许是短暂的。据报道美国证监委员会正在调查针对社交网络投资的第二大市场,也在观察Facebook会不会在超过499个投资人的界限时候向外界公开。高盛打算成立一个特别投资基金,允许其客户在Facebook集资15亿美元。如果美国证监委员会证实该基金是单独集资,并且是为了避免向外界公开其规则,那有可能会审查该基金并迫使Facebook公开其公司经营状况。

Goldman Sachs’ investment also puts the firm in an ideal position to handle Facebook’s IPO when it eventually is issued, perhaps sometime next year. That, of course, has the potential to generate substantial revenues for Goldman Sachs’ clients. Google’s 2004 IPO raised an initial $1.2 billion for the company. After all the hype, Facebook’s IPO can hardly be expected to raise less.

高盛的投资也把Facebook推向了一个理想的位置,也许是下年的某个时候,当它最终确定上市后,会去处理Facebook首次公开发行的股票。当然,也会为高盛的客户带来一笔潜在客观的收入。2004年Google上市时首次公开发行的股票为公司带来12亿收入。经过一番炒作后,Facebook首次公开发行的股票也能按预期一路飙升。

Putting the hype aside, though, there remains a significant question as to whether Facebook’s potential for generating income is more virtual than real. Goldman Sachs’ investment has certainly bolstered Facebook’s apparent value but investors in Facebook, including its employees, will eventually want to exit and take profits with them. If it turns out that Facebook can’t live up to its potential for generating advertising revenue, venture capitalists who invest for the long term may get burned.

把炒作放在一边不说,有一个重要问题是Facebook的潜在价值能否产生收入,这比实际更加真实。高盛的投资无疑刺激了Facebook表面的价值,但是Facebook的投资者,包括员工最后都会获利,但谁都想要退出。如果证实Facebook不能像预期那样带来可观的广告收入,那么冒险的资本家还长期投资Facebook无异于引火上身。

One would hope that Goldman Sachs knows better than to inflate Facebook’s apparent value to score a quick profit for its investors. However, investors are probably prudent to remember that, only last year, Goldman Sachs settled a huge securities fraud suit with the SEC, paying $550 million and admitting that its marketing materials associated with a complicated security were “incomplete.” Goldman Sachs reportedly is putting the finishing touches on a report on its business practices and ethics that should issue later this month. Would-be investors in Facebook may want to read that report before putting their real money into a virtual enterprise. As the dot-com bubble demonstrated, potential profits don’t always materialize.

人们希望高盛明白使Facebook的表面资产膨胀而不至于对其投资者做急功近利的事。但是,精明的投资者会记得去年高盛在涉嫌证券诈骗案件中,支付高达5.5亿美元罚款并且向美国证监委员会承认其市场推广和一系列“不完整”的复杂的证券有关。据报道在这个月的晚些时候高盛会将其在诈骗案中的经营方式和商业道德以报告的形式公布出来。Facebook的投资者们在他们把真正的钱投到这家虚拟的企业之前,可能都想要看一下高盛的这份报告。互联网泡沫危机已经证明,潜在盈利能力并不会总是都实现。

本文来源:东西网 翻译:Cyprus  作者:Lauren Bloom
VIA: MADBRIEF

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