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Oct 2012: Twitter IPO? Don't hold your breath.

Stashed in: Twitter!, @dickc

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Chris O'Brien writes:

For now, Costolo seems to have struck a reasonable balance. And that's allowed the company to be more aggressive in rolling out new advertising services. But for all the attention they've gotten, these products are still in the embryonic stage.

"We are seeing brands and agencies deploy against them, but it's been experimental at best," said Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group. "I haven't heard any brand or agency say conclusively, 'This is where we need to be.'"

But let's give Twitter the benefit of the doubt for a moment. In recent leaks to the media, the company has indicated its ad products are performing better than expected, and that Twitter is on track to post $350 million in revenue this year, and possibly $1 billion in revenue in 2014, the year it supposedly aims to go public. Reports from eMarketer are a bit less bullish, forecasting revenue of $288 million this year and $807 million by 2014.

That rate of growth would be impressive. But even the extremely bullish projection of $1 billion in revenue by 2014 is well short of the $5 billion Facebook expects this year. And while we don't know much about Twitter's expenses, we do know Facebook's expenses, when it had roughly the same number of employees as Twitter does now: about $777 million.

Well said, sir.

There's no predictability in Twitter's revenues.

And as Facebook, Groupon, and Zynga found out the hard way, if you go public without predictability, the markets punish you.

Look to Google, eBay, and LinkedIn as the models of companies that had predictability before going public.

Dropbox goes public before Twitter does. And, at the least in the short-term, it's revenues are much more predictable.

Not even close, actually. 

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