Could Facebook be on the verge of a comeback?

The company seems to be getting serious about monetization.

By InvestorPlace Sep 28, 2012 10:50AM

By Alyssa Oursler

iplogoAll the chatter about social media site Facebook (FB) has died down some since its botched IPO, but headlines are still steadily trickling in.

Mark Zuckerberg spoke earlier in September, for one, and his optimism about mobile and monetization efforts gave shares a nearly 20% boost.

Since then, though, things have again moved downward and the stock has still lost nearly half of its value since going public.

The focus on mobile and monetization, though, remains evident -- and in some cases, controversial.

Last week, to start, the company announced that merchants will now have to pay to use the site's once-free Offers service -- you know, those offers (or virtual coupons) that pop up in your news feed.

And it also rolled out a new "Gift-Giving" service to part of the Facebook population. (You can find the details here.) No more just writing Happy Birthday on your friend's wall -- now you can actually send a virtual gift card!

Users will be able to exchange gifts from more than 100 merchants, including coffee king Starbucks (SBUX), through their profiles -- a move to online commerce that undoubtedly edges a little into powerhouse Internet retailer Amazon’s (AMZN) territory.

Of course, this is a pretty good territory to move into considering Amazon's success – and Facebook's dire need to improve revenues. An app for the service will be available in the near future.

But that's not all. One way the company is hoping to make up for its slipping advertising sales is with its new partnership with data company Datalogix that will allow it to track ads.

Datalogix has purchasing data for millions of Americans and thus will be able to see whether or not people who see ads on the site then buy those products in stores. Such in-depth marketing details would in theory boost the company's advertising efforts, but it is raising some objections in the process.

Many advocacy groups and individual users are concerned that this violates users' privacy, and that the online-offline data combination shouldn't be permitted unless consumers opt in.

This is far from the first time Zuckerberg has been in trouble over privacy concerns, of course. Most recently, the company has been under fire as many users say their old private messages -- from 2009 and earlier -- are now publicly visible on their profiles.

The site continues to deny the reports, but when I personally checked for the glitch, it did seem true -- and countless other users say the same.

Regardless, it's clear that Facebook isn't sitting still. It's also been busy integrating the DropBox file sharing service on its site and has been working on cleaning up its site by deleting fake likes and profiles.

In the end, though, those moves are just on the periphery. Any real progress for the company -- and the only ways it can gain back its whopping losses -- will come from improvements in terms of making money and moving to mobile.

At least the first steps in that direction are being taken. It's a good start.

As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

More from InvestorPlace

Sep 28, 2012 1:24PM
The more they try to profit from our personal social networks, the less people will participate.  Facebook took a good personal thing and made it a corporate mess that nobody wants.
Sep 28, 2012 1:26PM
MySpace was a fad.  Facebook is a fad.  Social Networking is a trend,  As soon as a better platform is available, users will jump like crickets.  Facebook is duplicitous in its EULA/privacy policies and prone to user fatigue.

There are no barriers to entry and there really is no proprietary product that will prevent it.  It's a movie set with nothing behind it and the main user demographic does not respond to the advertising that is supposed to feed the revenue model.

Another pimp and shill article by msn, who has a history of doing this since before the IPO.  Probably a favor to money interests that are into FB deep and connected financially to msn.

Sep 28, 2012 12:57PM
I thought more a buck a share and stays there endlessly. Its a virtual business with too much intrusion illusion and risks to younger people. There are too many of those to be worth more.
Sep 28, 2012 7:57PM

If you think day traders can manipulate a stock who's kidding who

Sep 28, 2012 2:16PM
Sep 28, 2012 1:01PM

"FB comeback"

- within the realm of probability it is probable.  

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