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Facebook Can't Get Anyone to Buy Anything, Survey Shows

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Yesterday, we talked about one businessman who’s figured out a good way to profit off of Facebook (FB). Of course, selling “Likes” is generally frowned upon, even if your clients aren’t politicians.

Meanwhile, Facebook continues to look for new and better ways to make money off its nearly one billion users. In recent months, the Silicon Valley company has seen per user revenue sink to $1.21 a quarter, thanks to, among other issues, its expanding user base and migration to harder-to-monetize iPhone (AAPL), Android (GOOG), and BlackBerry (RIMM) apps.

Facebook’s issues monetizing their product came to a very visible head last month when General Motors (GM) decided to get rid of its advertising on the site, claiming that it doesn’t work. On its end, the social media giant claims that case studies show companies like Applebee’s (DIN) have seen a positive return on their investment.

Unfortunately for Facebook, a recent Reuters and Ipsos Public Affairs poll might just have made things a lot worse. Apparently, four in five users have never (repeat, never) bought a product after viewing an ad on the site.

Uh oh.

Worse yet, over the past month, more users have cut down on their Facebook time than have increased it (of course, it’s difficult to go on more than “constantly”). Forty-four percent of those surveyed said that they had a worse view of the company after its IPO.

Long term, perhaps the most damning piece of data from the survey is that comments from friends had the same effectiveness in getting users to buy something as ads -- that is, 20%. Considering the fact that Facebook has marketed itself as capable of monetizing user connections, this is troubling news indeed.

Of course, Zuckerberg’s company still has a huge user base, talented engineers, and a ton of money to figure out how to profit off all of us out here in Internet-land. However, like their IPO, this data might be a wake-up call, reminding Facebook that they still have a long way to go.

Then again, maybe they can make money off the under-13 lot.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.