Reflecting on the Facebook IPO, One Year Later

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Despite some early pitfalls, the social network has successfully made the transition from start-up to publicly traded company.

It’s the eve of Facebook’s one-year IPO anniversary, and what a strange year it’s been.

The Menlo, California-based company has successfully ginned up revenue to the tune of $1.46 billion in its first reported quarter, up 36 percent from $1.06 billion a year ago, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But while the company has made good on its decision to ramp up advertising, the jury’s still out on whether users appreciate it.

According to The Journal, the days of relying on desktop ads in the right-hand column of its website, which the company did before filing for its IPO, are all but over.

Facebook’s begun running ads for the first time on mobile devices and in its News Feed, and created « special widgets » for ads that promote installments of third-party applications. The company also launched a now-fledgling e-commerce store, which some say has dilluted the user experience.

To be fair, Facebook admitted a year ago that it was « not originally created to be a company, » but was « built to accomplish a social mission–to make the world more open and connected. » The company has succeeded on both counts, of course, but as The Journal points out, the idea that revenue would stem from user engagement hasn’t « been enough to push Facebook’s stop back up to its IPO price last May of $38.

Although that’s not to say Facebook hasn’t tried. After changing its tone on revenue last year, the social network made efforts to connect with advertising clients, going so far as to organize boot camps for employees and trips to meet with bigwigs like Procter & Gamble.

To date, Facebook has not delivered on all its shareholders’ expectations, but some companies told The Journal the revenue-friendly attitude has encouraged them to spend more money on the site. Online retailer, for example, says he’s taken advantage of Facebook Exchange, a real-time marketplace that sells ads based on what sites users are visiting.