Monday, April 16, 2012

Is There A Social Media Bubble?

Of course there’s a social media bubble.

All over the map, everyone ranging from seed-stage investors to the public markets are paying inflated prices for social media assets. But while the current frenzy is a bubble, it doesn’t even come close to the magnitude and madness of the Dot-Com bubble.

Back in those days, “eyeballs” were being valued in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars—even if most of those eyeballs consisted of a one-time user registration with zero usage. In contrast, Instagram’s value of $25 for each of its 40 million users seems tame in comparison.

Another famous example, Chemdex, raised $112.5 million in its 1999 IPO…on quarterly sales of $165,000. No, that’s not a misprint. At its height, the company was valued at over $4 billion. That’s a Price/Sales ratio of 6,000X. LinkedIn comes in at a comparatively reasonable 20X sales (for reference, Apple is valued at a little under 5X sales).

So while today’s valuations are frothy, we’ve got a long way to go before we reach the insanity of the Dot-Com era.

Give it a year.

1 comment:

acgourley said...

Chris - have you considered the fact that everyone seems to be getting rich except me? I think that's a pretty clear bubble indicator.