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Wait, Facebook Has How Many Users?

As the Sturm und Drang over the Goldman Sachs-Facebook deals settles down, marketers are looking at the massive cash infusion with an eye for what the deal will mean for them. For starters, it has already meant a recalculation of Facebook's reach. The site apparently has 600 million users - or possibly more - than the 500 million milestone Facebook widely proclaimed it reached a few months ago.

According to a document that Goldman Sachs is showing potential investors, Facebook "has 600 million + monthly active users." (via Business Insider). There is credence to the theory that Facebook has deliberately undercounted its users, Business Insider adds. A PR contact at the company once told the publication that it deliberately downplays user numbers in order to make more dramatic announcements.

How Will it Use the Money?

With at least $450 million expected from Goldman Sachs and the potential for $1.5 billion via the special purpose vehicle Goldman Sachs is setting up, Facebook will have a hefty cash balance on hand - assuming the SEC doesn’t interfere in the deal, as the Wall Street Journal suggested it might.

There are a number of investment areas of interest to marketers including:

Data centers. "The average Facebook user logs in every day and looks at a lot of pages," said Gartner analyst Ray Valdes."They have a lot of data center requirements to meet those demands." (via Dow Jones).

More acquisitions. Dow Jones also reports that Vaughan Smith, Facebook's head of corporate development, plans to look at startups with developed products or services in location-based services, online currency and mobile products. It will also consider bigger, more mature companies instead of the 10-employee shops it has been acquiring up to now.

Search. This is an area in which Facebook could directly compete with Google, says David Kirkpatrick, author of "The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World." (via NPR). "By bringing all the social data that they have and the information about what people like and don't like, there's a lot of things they can get you information about more effectively today than Google has. And, in fact, Facebook may end up making a lot more money than Google as a result."


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