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经济学人:Facebook在逆流中前行

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Business.

商业。
Facebook
Facebook
Work in progress
逆流中前行
The stockmarket has lost no time in unfriending the social network
证券市场正加紧同社交网络解除好友关系
IT IS still gaining members-there were 955m by the end of June-but Facebook has been losing friends ever since it became a public company on May 18th. Delays in trading on the frenzied opening day were scarcely the social-networking company's fault. But not since that first day has the share price closed above its bloated debut mark of $38; and recently it has lurched lower. It dropped by 8% after hours on July 25th when Zynga, a games company that uses Facebook as a base, reported poor quarterly results, and by another 10% after Facebook's own figures came out the next day. It has fallen further since. On August 1st Facebook's shares closed at $20.88, the lowest yet (see chart).
虽然新用户仍在不断增加——到六月底这个数字已经达到9.55亿之多——但自从5月18日上市以来,Facebook的支持者却在流失。疯狂的上市首日发生的交易延迟的确不应归咎于这家社交网络公司。但是自从发行价虚开38美元之后,它的股价就再没有高过这个数字;最近更是屡创新低。7月25日开盘数小时之后,基于Facebook平台的游戏公司Zynga公布了其糟糕的季度业绩,Facebook的股价下跌8%。而第二天,Facebook自己的数据公开之后,股价更是再跌10%。从此就一蹶不振了。8月1日,Facebook的股价收盘于20.88美元,上市以来的新低(见表)。
New shareholders are not the only ones feeling fed up. On July 30th Limited Run, a New York platform for the online shops of record labels, artists and designers, said it would delete its Facebook page. It estimated that 80% of clicks came from "bots"-computers rather than people, but triggering payments to Facebook all the same. Limited Run added that after it changed its name (from Limited Pressing) Facebook asked it to spend $2,000 a month on advertising to change the name of its page on the network to match. Calling Facebook "scumbags", it invited its human visitors to follow it on Twitter instead. Facebook says it is investigating, and that "there seems to be some sort of miscommunication" about the change of page name, for which it does not charge.
并不是只有新股东们感到失望。7月30日,来自纽约的为唱片、乐手和设计师搭建的线上平台,Limited Run,宣布公司将删除其Facebook主页。据估计,其80%的主页点击都是"机器人"所为——电脑操纵而非用户,而他们却一样要为这些点击向Facebook支付费用。Limited Run补充道,在其改名之后(原先叫Limited Pressing),Facebook还要求其支付一个月2000美元的费用来为网站主页的更名打广告。他们把Facebook看作"小人",并邀请其用户转而关注他们的推特帐号。Facebook称事情正在调查,并称关于主页更名"其中一定有什么误会",因为这是完全免费的。
In its own way the latest droop in the share price is as mysterious as the bots apparently plaguing Limited Run. Granted, the news from Zynga, which alone provides 10% of Facebook's revenues, was a shock. Facebook made a quarterly loss, of $157m, but that was more than explained by the accounting cost of share-based compensation. And revenue growth slowed, to 32% in the year to the second quarter. Yet that was pretty much what analysts had expected, perhaps a little better.
和明显成为Limited Run公司麻烦的那些机器人一样,近来Facebook股市的萎靡从它自身的角度来看同样不可理解。的确,Zynga占到Facebook营业额的10%,其亏损新闻对Facebook是一种打击。Facebook也确实遭遇了1.57亿美元的季度亏损,但这更大程度上是受到分红补贴成本的影响。从年中的第二季度来看,营业收益额的增长放缓至32%。这和分析师的预测相差无几,甚至还要好于预期。
Nonetheless, there are reasons to be sceptical about the speed at which Facebook's revenues and profits can grow. In America and much of Europe just about anyone who might want to join already has; and the ratio of daily to monthly users ticked down in North America, Europe and Asia-a sign to some of "Facebook fatigue". So Facebook must make money from the members it has rather than simply by adding new ones. And it must find a way to do so on mobile devices, from which most Facebookers now check the site (56.9% of monthly users did so in the second quarter). There is little space for ads on a smartphone; and ads must not just avoid irritating users, but make them click.
尽管如此,我们还是有理由去怀疑Facebook的营业额及其利润的增长空间。在美国以及欧洲大部分区域,想要入市的股民早已出现悲观情绪;而在北美,欧洲以及亚洲,日活跃用户以及月活跃用户的比例开始呈现下滑趋势——这是"Facebook疲乏症"的标志。所以Facebook需要想法设法从已有用户身上吸金,而非扩大自己的用户群。而且必须在移动设备这块战场上发力,因为大多数的Facebook用户都是通过移动设备访问网站的(第二季度数据比重达56.9%)。在智能手机上投放广告的空间很小;而且广告不能光做到不侵扰用户,还要让他们点击才行。
I want to sell you a story
"受赞助内容"赢利模式
Facebook sees "sponsored stories" in users' news feeds, the main flow of information about their friends, as the tool for this job. These are ads that companies can pay to highlight with the aim of seeing them spread by recommendation. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer, told analysts that click-through rates on ads in news feeds were "multiple times better" than on ads to the right of the screen. Ms Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and boss, said stories in news feeds were bringing in more than $1m a day, half of that from mobile devices.
消息推送,已经成为用户获取好友信息的主要渠道。Facebook发现,"受赞助的内容"可以作为它营收的一个来源。为了使自己的广告通过推荐的方式传播,公司可以支付费用来使其突出显示。Facebook的首席运营官雪莉·桑德伯格告诉分析师,在消息推送中的广告点击率是屏幕右侧广告的"数倍"。Facebook的创立者和老板,桑德伯格以及马克·扎克伯格,称消息推送每天能为Facebook创收百万美元以上,其中半数来自移动设备。
That sounds promising, but it is not yet a lot of money. Steve Weinstein of ITG Investment Research says that sponsored stories are "an ad product that is not going to ramp up overnight", which explains the cautious tone of Facebook's bosses. Advertising through friends' recommendations on social networks is still new. So advertisers will need to learn what sponsored stories ought to look like, and then be convinced to spend money on them. They will also need to keep refreshing stories, which in turn will mean more expense.
虽然听上去充满希望,但数目并不算是很大。来自ITG投资研究所的史蒂夫·韦恩史蒂恩说,受赞助的内容"不会成为一夜走红的广告产品",这也和Facebook老板们的谨慎论调相符合。在社交网站上,通过好友推荐的广告模式依旧新颖。因此广告的投放者需要清楚受赞助内容的合理形式,确认之后,再投入资金。他们也需要对内容进行更新,反过来意味着更大的开支。
Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Sandberg also pointed to two other initiatives. One is an exchange on which marketers will be able to bid for ad impressions in real-time. This is standard in the industry, but new for Facebook. The other is a push for ads from small and medium-sized businesses (but not, perhaps, Limited Run). Recently, says Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group, big advertisers working with agencies, which accounted for perhaps one-third of Facebook's ad revenue last year, have been building up their spending with Facebook. Spending by small firms and online businesses has stalled, leading to the slowdown in Facebook's growth.
扎克伯格和桑德伯格也提出了两项新举措。一个是为营销者准备的交流平台。他们可以实时地对广告投放位置进行投标。这在工业领域里是标准,但在Facebook还是全新的尝试。另一个是推动中小型企业投放广告(除了Limited Run之外,可能)。来自市场研究机构Pivotal Research Group的分析师布莱恩·威瑟尔最近说,和代理商合作的大型广告商一直以来都在加强和Facebook的合作关系。这些收入约占到Facebook去年广告收入的三分之一。而同时,小型企业和线上业务的开支却停滞不前,放缓了Facebook的增长势头。
With these plans, thinks Mr Wieser, Facebook is doing the right things. He dismisses worries about falling ratios of daily to monthly users. Far more Americans visit Facebook than other social-media sites and they spend more time online there than anywhere else. So there is "no other satisfactory provider for most marketers" with a "social" strategy. He thinks the shares were overpriced at $38 but have now sunk unreasonably low.
威瑟尔认为,通过这些计划,Facebook正在沿着正确的方向前进。他对日活跃用户和月活跃用户比例下滑的担忧不屑一顾。在美国,多数人在同类的社交网站中偏爱Facebook;而且比起其他网站,他们也更愿意在Facebook上消磨时间。所以,对于大多数营销者而言,也没有其他既拥有"社交"战略,又"令人满意的平台提供商"了。他承认开盘价38美元的确过高,但现在跌到如此之低也是不合理的。
Facebook may take comfort from the enthusiasm of others for the social world. This week Google was said to have paid $400m for Wildfire Interactive, a social-marketing firm; Oracle and Salesforce.com have also been recent buyers in the field. A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of a consultancy, sees vast untapped potential in companies' use of social technologies (internally, as well as in dealings with customers). Gartner, another research firm, said this week that failing to communicate with customers on social networks could be as damaging to companies as not answering phone calls or e-mails. Mr Weinstein notes that Facebook "is still valued like a very successful business": worth $50 billion, indeed, at only eight years of age.
Facebook会对其他公司对于社交世界的热忱感到宽慰。谷歌刚刚于这周宣布,斥资4亿美元收购社交营销公司Wildfire Interactive。甲骨文公司和云计算公司Salesforce.com近来也成为了这片领域的掠食者。麦肯锡咨询公司研究部门——麦肯锡全球研究所的一份最新报告表明,在企业对于社交技术的运用上存在着尚待开发的巨大潜力(从内部看,同消费者交易也是如此)。另一家咨询公司的高德纳本周表示,如果企业无法在社交网络上同客户交流,其后果将等同于不接电话或是不回邮件,将是破坏性的。韦恩史蒂恩强调,Facebook"仍是一家非常成功的企业",市值500亿美元,而且,仅仅用了八年。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
limited ['limitid]

想一想再看

adj. 有限的,被限制的
动词limit的过

 
untapped ['ʌn'tæpt]

想一想再看

adj. 塞子未开的,未使用的

联想记忆
strategy ['strætidʒi]

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n. 战略,策略

 
comfort ['kʌmfət]

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n. 舒适,安逸,安慰,慰藉
vt. 安慰,使

联想记忆
fatigue [fə'ti:g]

想一想再看

n. 疲乏,疲劳,累活
adj. 疲劳的

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recommendation [.rekəmen'deiʃən]

想一想再看

n. 推荐,介绍

 
compensation [.kɔmpen'seiʃən]

想一想再看

n. 补偿,赔偿; 赔偿金,物

 
global ['gləubəl]

想一想再看

adj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的

联想记忆
debut ['debju]

想一想再看

n. 初次登场,首次露面 v. 初次登场

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avoid [ə'vɔid]

想一想再看

vt. 避免,逃避

联想记忆


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