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Facebook in 'solid net profit' shocker

2009 revenues topped $700m, says report

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Facebook pulled in a $700 to $800 million in revenue during 2009, according to a report citing two sources familiar with the situation.

Reuters reports that last year, the social networking site made actually made a "solid" net profit — somewhere in the tens of millions of dollars.

These figures are higher than expected for the still-private outfit. Last July, Facebook board member and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen told Reuters that the company expected revenues of around $500 million in 2009, and more recent press reports have put 2009 revenues between $500 million and $700 million.

"They are downplaying their performance," one Reuters source said of Facebook. "There's no upside in getting people's expectations high, it's always better to go low."

In September, Facebook said it had become cash-flow positive, but prior to that there had been much speculation over whether the company was bringing in the cash needed to maintain its massive back-end infrastructure.

According to a July 2008 analysis from Data Center Knowledge, Facebook was spending somewhere between $20m and $25m a year on data center space. The previous November, unnamed sources told TechCrunch that the company was spending "well over" a million a month on electricity alone and "likely" another $500,000 for bandwidth. And of course, spending was on the rise.

At the beginning of 2009, Facebook said it was serving 150 million users. By the end of the year, this figure had more than doubled to 350 million.

Housing photos for 350 million Web 2.0 obsessives isn't cheap, and many have questioned whether the site was as suited to advertising as the company claimed it to be — in 2008, Google told the world that advertising on social networking sites was "not monetizing" as well as expected — but it would appear that Facebook's advertising revenues are on the rise.

A source tells Reuters that Facebook's 2009 revenues were more than double the revenues of the previous year. ®

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