Since Mark Zuckerberg’s interview at the Disrupt conference a couple weeks ago, the shares of Facebook (NYSE:FB) have been on fire, gaining 18% in that time.
In that interview, Zuckerberg talked about the huge potential for mobile and how he is committed to monetization (both words — “mobile” and “monetization” — seemed to be his favorites!) And it’s looking more and more like he’s willing to back up the talk.
The most recent example: Facebook will now charge merchants for its Offers service, which allows business owners to offer discounts via users’ News Feeds (think of it like a virtual coupon).
Where it was free before, Offers’ new minimum cost will be $5 per offer. Though there’s a little value added — the company also will add a bar-code system that will track the success of each ad.
It’s not clear how large the Offers program currently is, but considering Facebook’s huge user base of more than 950 million users, it’s probably a decent enough size to matter. If so, that could mean a nice boost in much-needed revenues.
Frankly, even if it’s not, the good news is that Facebook finally seems to be waking up to the fact that if it wants to get traction as a public company, it needs to get serious about monetization.
It also seems like a good bet that Facebook will begin to turn other free services into premium offerings.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.