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Most readers not planning to buy stock in Facebook

More than 90 percent of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say they won’t be buying Facebook Inc. stock when it begins trading publicly.
 
The long-awaited initial public offering of the world’s largest online social network is expected to take place today, and it could rank among the biggest IPOs in U.S. history.
 
On Tuesday, Facebook increased the planned price range for its stock to $34 to $38 a share in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s up from its previous range of $28 to $35. A day later, the company said the number of shares offered to investors would be increased by 25 percent. Facebook sold 421.2 million shares at $38 each to raise $16 billion, a statement Thursday shows.
 
Facebook has some 900 million users, and two-thirds of this week’s poll respondents are among them.
 
Readers were split on how important social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are to them in their work or professionally. Sixty percent say social media are not important, compared with 40 percent who said they are important.
 
In a recent Associated Press-CNBC poll, half of Americans surveyed said that Facebook is a passing fad and that the social network’s expected asking price is too high.
 
Roughly 450 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted May 7.
 
Do you plan to buy Facebook stock when it starts trading publicly?
Yes: 8%
No: 92%
 
Do you personally have a Facebook page?
Yes: 67%
No: 33%
 
How important are social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to you in your work or professionally?
Very important: 8%
Somewhat important: 32%
Not very important: 36%
Not at all important: 24%
    
COMMENTS:
I had a Facebook account but found it to be nothing but an annoyance, so I deleted it and won’t sign up again. There are more interesting, fun things to do with my time.
  -J. Clark
 
One look at my Facebook page(s) makes it all quite clear.
  -Gap Mangione
 
Until Facebook develops a sustainable, effective way for businesses to advertise, I can’t see the ridiculous valuation being placed on it. Groupon is a great example of overvaluation for an unproven business model.
  -Bob Metcalfe
 
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are akin to spam. Unnecessary, irrelevant and a pain in the butt.
  -Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield
 
I doubt if the average investor will even be able to buy shares. The large mutual fund firms and banks will snap them up.
  -Ken Ross, Canandaigua
 
While I see the importance of social media in cultivating, informing and keeping clients, I do not believe that Facebook is worth the value it is being assigned. Consumers are too picky. MySpace was all the rage a few years back, and look where they are today. Plus, there are already reports out that people use Facebook less and less each day. To get the returns required, they need to be adding more users, doing more things, and I just don’t see that happening. For me, Twitter and LinkedIn are much more valuable tools.
  -Richard J. Doe, Nacca & Capizzi
 
IPOs that get the buzz this one is getting usually have a gigantic run-up far above the intrinsic value early on, then people come to their senses and the stock value plummets. I don’t have faith in this stock in the long term. In the market they are in, kingdoms are won and lost very rapidly. Ten years from now, Facebook could easily be an "also ran" just like AOL is today.
  -Mike Kaser, Penfield
 
I use face-to-face communications for my interaction with customers.
  -Hal Gaffin
 
I just hope the offering price is affordable for common users of the tool.
  -Shaunta Collier-Santos, LandNPR Productions

5/18/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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