Bloomberg News

Facebook May Reach 1 Billion Members in August, ICrossing Says

January 12, 2012

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., the most popular social-networking service, may reach 1 billion members around August as growth accelerates in developing countries, according to a blog by digital-marketing firm ICrossing.

Facebook, which reached 800 million users last year, will benefit from a surge in new members in countries such as India and Brazil, where a smaller percentage of the population has already signed up, wrote Gregory Lyons, a research and insight manager at ICrossing.

“Looking at the data from 2006 to mid-2008 it looks like Facebook was growing at an exponential rate, however more recent data suggests it’s growing in a linear fashion,” Lyons wrote. “Facebook’s growth has slowed or stopped in many of its early adopting countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. However, developing countries such as India and Brazil have shown strong growth.”

Facebook, which says more than half of active users log on to the site in any given day, is rolling out new services ahead of a potential initial public offering. In September, the company unveiled tools that let users more easily share music and movies, along with a service that displays users’ historical activities.

The Menlo Park, California-based company, which makes money by selling advertising that reaches Facebook members, is considering raising about $10 billion in an IPO that would value the company at more than $100 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said in November.

Rival Google Inc., owner of the world’s most popular search engine, is adding 625,000 new users a day to the Google+ social-networking service, which may total 400 million members by the end of this year, according to Paul B. Allen, founder of Ancestry.com Inc. Allen tracks the numbers as Google+’s “unofficial statistician.”

The site’s popularity has accelerated in recent weeks, with almost a quarter of its total user base joining in December alone, Allen said that same month.

--Editors: Jillian Ward, Nick Turner

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net.


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