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14 Facts About The Absolutely Crazy Internet Stock Bubble That Could Crash And Burn In 2014

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TwitterShouldn’t Internet companies actually “make a profit” at some point before being considered worth billions of dollars?  A lot of investors laugh when they look back at the foolishness of the “Dotcom bubble” of the late 1990s, but the tech bubble that is inflating right in front of our eyes today is actually far worse.  For example, what would you say if I told you that a seven-year-old company that has a long history of not being profitable and that actually lost 64 million dollars last quarter is worth more than 13 billion dollars?  You would probably say that I was insane, but the company that I have just described is Twitter and Wall Street is going crazy for it right now.  Please don’t get me wrong – I actually love Twitter.  On my Twitter account I have sent out thousands of “tweets”.  Twitter is a lot of fun, and it has had a huge impact on the entire planet.  But is it worth 13 billion dollars?  Of course not.

When it comes to the Internet, what is hot today will probably not be hot tomorrow.

Do you remember MySpace?

At one time, MySpace was considered to be the undisputed king of social media.  But then something better came along (Facebook) and killed it.

It is important to keep in mind that Facebook did not even exist ten years ago.  Yes, almost everybody is using it today, but will everybody still be using it a decade from now?


But the way that the financial markets are valuing these firms can only be justified if they are going to make absolutely massive profits for many decades to come.

Will Twitter eventually make a little bit of money?

Probably, as long as they get their act together.

In fact, Twitter should be making significant amounts of money right now if it was being run correctly.

But will Twitter ever make 13 billion dollars?

No, that simply is not going to happen.  But that is what Wall Street says that Twitter is worth.

The utter foolishness that we are witnessing on Wall Street right now is so similar to what we saw back in the late 1990s.  It is almost as if we have learned nothing from our past mistakes.

These days I keep having flashbacks of the sock puppet.  For those too young to remember, the following is a brief summary from Investopedia about what happened to…

It’s impossible to think of the first Internet era without thinking of the sock puppet. He was everywhere and was nearly as well-known as the Geico gecko is today.

That familiarity, in part, persuaded many investors to lay down money in the company’s February 2000 IPO (which was backed by raised $82.5 million – but nine months later it folded, due to major recurring losses. Part of the reason for that was aggressive advertising, but the company also lost money on virtually every item it sold. In the third quarter of 2000, reported negative gross margins of $277,000. (The second quarter had seen a $1.7 million margin loss.) That same quarter (its last full quarter as an operating entity), the company lost $21.7 million on $9.4 million in revenue.

As for the puppet, he went on to shill for BarNone, which helps people with bad credit histories get car loans. He’s still there today, front and center on that website.

Everyone loves to laugh at the poor little sock puppet, but the truth is that the tech bubble that is inflating right now is far worse than the Dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.  The following are 14 facts about the current tech bubble that will blow your mind…

#1 In just a few days, the Twitter IPO is expected to raise close to 2 billion dollars even though Twitter actually lost 64.6 million dollars last quarter and has a long history of not being profitable.

#2 It is being projected that after the IPO Twitter could have a market valuation of more than 13 billion dollars.

#3 Twitter is not expected to make a profit until 2015 at the earliest.

#4 According to CNBC, Pinterest is currently valued at 3.8 billion dollars even though it has never earned a profit.

#5 Yahoo paid more than a billion dollars for Tumblr even though Tumblr’s revenues are so small that Yahoo is not even required to report them on financial statements.

#6 Snapchat, an Internet service that allows people to send out messages that “self-destruct”, is supposedly worth 4 billion dollars.  But it actually has zero revenue coming in, and many believe that it is essentially worthless as a money making enterprise.  For one extensive analysis by a tech blogger, please see this article.

#7 The stock of Rocket Fuel, an online advertising company, is trading at about 60 dollars a share and it has a market valuation of about 2 billion dollars even though it has never made a profit.

#8 The stock of local business review website Yelp is up 241 percent this year even though it has never earned a quarterly profit.

#9 just raised 165 million dollars from investors even though it recently laid off 44o employees.

#10 LinkedIn stock has risen in price by 136 percent since the 2011 IPO, and it is now supposedly worth more than 18 billion dollars.

#11 The head of engineering at Twitter, Chris Fry, got a 10.3 million dollar pay package when he joined Twitter last year.

#12 Facebook’s VP of engineering, Mike Schroepfer, earned 24.4 million dollars in 2011.

#13 Office rents in San Francisco (where many of these tech companies are based) are now 23 percent higher than they were at the peak of the real estate market in 2008.

#14 Facebook stock is up close to 140 percent over the past 12 months and the company is now worth more than 120 billion dollars.

And I am certainly not the only one that is concerned that we are repeating the mistakes of the late 1990s…

“When you look at valuations and look at the lack of earnings and revenue, it seems to me much like the dot-com bubble,” said Matt McCormick, a money manager at Cincinnati-based Bahl & Gaynor Inc. who helps oversee $10.2 billion. “This market looks a little frothy and Twitter is the personification of a risky trade.”

In fact, as the Wall Street Journal recently noted, we have seen some of these tech stocks crash more than once during the Internet age…

“It’s fascinating to me that today’s mini-mania includes shares of Amazon, Netflix and Priceline that have previously peaked and crashed before—in some cases they’ve peaked and crashed twice before,” says Darren Pollock, portfolio manager at Cheviot Value Management. “Stocks like these have again captured the imagination of speculators. We’re skeptical that there is enough underlying intrinsic value to many of the highfliers to support today’s prices.”

So how long will it be until the current tech bubble implodes?

That is a very good question.  Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

  • Tim

    Facebook’s stock may be doing well now, but remember that its IPO was an absolute disaster. Will Twitter be a repeat of that fiasco? We’ll see.

  • Marco

    I wonder what will happen to stock valuations of social media solutions when people realize that they are being monitored through them. Maybe nothing – too self-absorbed to care?

    • Philip Arlington

      Sadly, only a small minority of people will ever care. The erosion of privacy is permanent.

  • davidmpark

    I’m surprised these tech companies have stocks to offer.

    These internet tech company’s mentioned above are service-based. They don’t build their product with raw materials from the ground at all. They rely on mining customer info to give direction to advertising, or being a middle man in transactions. There’s not much worth to info brokers and middle men apart from how they interlope into something.

    Before making any investment, here’s the numbers you should know before making stock and corp. bond purchases:
    – Income (dividend) Yield %
    – Cover % (high good/low bad)
    – Earnings-Per-Share (current share price/stock price)
    – P/E (Price/Earnings) Ratio (low good/high bad)
    – P/B (Price/Book) Ratio or Price/Asset Ratio
    – EV/EBITDA (Enterprise Value/Earings Before Interest, Tax Depreciation, and Amortization) Ratio; better than P/E (low good/high bad)
    – PEG (Price to Earnings Growth Rate) Ratio

    Also don’t be fooled by a company’s net earnings numbers as these can be easily manipulated; which is what’s probably going on here. I highly doubt these company’s have much real worth.

    • DownWithLibs

      Much like how our economy is now…service based. How long can that last!

      • davidmpark

        I know! And we have locked up over $120 TRILLION in raw materials – we have the wealth to get out of this mess!! Unlock it!!!

      • LeGeneral

        Yeah, like legal and financial services, food services, haircuts, etc. Facebook doesn’t do any of those things. They don’t charge people for doing anything. They merely provide user info to third parties (advertisers) for money.
        In other words, what does facebook have that some other website can’t copy?

  • Kent Harris

    The stock market and everything else is overvalued. Homes are the biggest waste of money. Spending 30 years to pay for it. 6-7 years max. What led to the last financial crisis was in fact homes. Remember Barney Frank who was the idiot that said that Fannie Mae was in good shape.
    ‘Pride goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit before a fall.’ Proverbs 16:18
    America just like Israel was prideful and God use Israel’s enemies to bring about judgement. China and Russia, the dragon and the bear, are watching us and like a wolf will devour the sheeple.

    • Artstacks

      We are all doomed

    • Gene Baugh BBA

      China and Russia have big problems of their own.

    • Philip Arlington

      Russia is never going to match the peaks of power it had under the Tsars and the Soviets. China is a different matter. But my money is on India, which is only 20 years behind China, and already has 50% more people in the younger age cohorts.

  • K

    Why would people be so foolish, as to invest in those stocks? The same reason people think a prince in Nigeria, will make them rich. Just a small amount of good faith money, and you are rich beyond compare. With some folks, greed and foolishness are a constant state of being.

    • DownWithLibs

      Yeah. You would think they would have learned from the Facebook roll out.

    • collinnyo145

      my Aunty Samantha just got a
      nearly new yellow Audi S4 by working part-time at home… navigate to these
      guys J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

    • Philip Arlington

      There is the greater fool theory, which at least means there is a genuine chance of making a profit if they sell on time, but very few of them will do so.

  • A D

    85 BILLION a month being printed write into the stock market, no more info needed..

  • Gregge K Johnson

    Most public employee pensions are invested in these worthless value companies ,,,,,and when they go bankrupt or bottom out in value ,no pensions will survive ! What a perfect way for the bankers to fleece people and then not being responsible for the money they owe !

    • Gene Baugh BBA

      Pension funds are broadly diversified into every nook and crany of the economy. If they have a position in any of these stocks it’s likely to less than 1% of total holdings.

  • A Dodgy Bloke

    The only reason Twitter is getting the Stock Valuations is the same reason Facebook was over valued. It’s hip and trendy and a lot of people think they can make money of the up slope once the IPO goes though. People have very short memories the Tech Wreck was not that long ago, but in todays America 2008 is ancient history. 2001 is the stone age.

  • saintmatty

    All the bubbles will be a poppin. Education scam bubble very soon and the others as well.

    • Philip Arlington

      The bloating of higher education is more of a sheet anchor than a scam. Its profit gouging depends on social prestige which builds gradually over time, and not on bursts of irrational enthusiasm. This means it will be far harder to even begin to turn things around.

  • markthetruth

    The question is where is the SEC to monitor IPO’s , and the crooked underwriter’s that bring them public. There should be some criteria besides HYPE ! Most NASDAQ companies go public to pay off their debt with investor’s money .

    the end…

    • Jacob

      They’re in your computer… dancing

      the beginning…

  • GSOB

    I don’t twitter or facebook or the like. I don’t text either.

    I know, boring…..

    • Malcolm Reynolds

      You don’t even text your husband/wife/kids?
      You don’t have to be some social mogul to text.
      “hey dear, send me that shopping list. I’ll hit the grocery store after work”.
      “hey son, I’ll be there in 15 mins. Get your stuff together…”

      • GSOB

        That’s right.

        Less tools = lesser criticism.

        Been there done that jarhead

  • Mudpie

    I have NEVER understood sane people putting serious savings into these kind of stocks. The barriers to entry are basically non existent, possibilities for fraud are all over the place – it is simply not a very wise investment whatsoever. Insanity and a type of Ponzi mentality. Sure, some very bright and fast traders may do okay, but for 99% of the people these are scam investments. Seriously. And I feel little sympathy. But these big dot com companies are being buoyed a bit by govt. cronyism, etc., for the time being. It will not last.

  • callmecordelia1

    Everyone wants a “get rich quick scheme” to work for them. It’s similar to people throwing away money in casinos hoping to strike it rich. And just like the casinos, it’s a microscopic percentage of people who are actually making money on it. It’s all a big sham that will come crashing down eventually. How much longer, who knows? But it’s unsustainable, just like the dot com bubble and the housing bubble and the banking bubbles…. and on and on and on.

  • Xman

    Just wanted to share that im addicted to this blog. Very top notch, accurate research done here. Curious, do you or anyone else know of a blog that covers shady vatican, world bank, or united nations blogs. All of whom id like to keep up on its just hard to find blogs of this quality on these three subjects

  • Ralfine

    The stockmarket is a casino.
    On the roulette table people “invest” on the number zero, because they believe the value will rise in the near future.

    Before going to the casino they ask their astrologist for tips.

    The equivalent in the stock market is the analyst who reads dips and peaks and predicts the future.

  • davidbyrden

    How the value of a company is calculated; take the current share price and multiply by the number of shares.
    What would happen if you tried to realise that value? Share price would drop as you ran out of buyers and people got suspicious of all the selling.
    Conclusion; we’re expecting to sprint the marathon.

  • Catalin Oancea

    I believe this is a technique to draw money from the rest of the world and widden the gap between the elite families and the rich people. I am thinking somewhere along these lines: artificially overevaluate the price of stocks, draw the rich people to buy massive amounts (and some middle-class ones), crash the stocks and funnel all that “lost” money into offshore accounts. The rich go bankrupt, their businesses start collapsing, the middle-class goes poor and the poor people die off eventually, because no one cares about anyone but themselves.
    Also, this economic depression is a maintained stress factor to get the world in the right mindset for the third world war. They don’t really care about crashing the economy, that will happen by itself once the nukes start flying. They need to get people so freaked out of their minds with all these bad news and bad economy that someone (meaning a country) will eventually lose it, start blaming others and start a local war which will then be exacerbated. They are waiting for a mistake. They are also using the USA to incite the world, with all that talk about NSA spying on everyone, the war in Syria and the obvious false flag, and also to leave her without any ally; USA will be the scapegoat. They are trying to draw attention to this country so when it’s consumed by fire they can get one step ahead and set up shop in the Middle East and prepare for the public appearance of the Antichrist.
    And one more thing: using this economic depression, they can push legislation that will enable the one world government to properly function. They are always one step ahead. The social studies that have been going on for so long have given them the ability to anticipate crowd behavior. The devil is very smart and is able to anticipate where sinful behavior will lead to.

  • AD

    If revenue/profits do not matter. All that matters is a gigantic user-base – at such crazy valuations – one could spend a few hundred millions to build a massive user base on a loss, and make billions with an IPO.
    I just don’t get it.
    Not just IPO’s…
    – Look at YouTube – when google bought it for $3.XB was making a loss of half-a-million a month.
    – Look at Instagram. Sold for $1B
    – Pinterest, valued at $3.8B? Are u kidding me?
    – LinkedIn at $18B? I could definitely spend a few hundred million, or a couple of billions to acquire more users than they have.
    – Facebook worth $120B? Mind boggling. No matter how much traffic they get, EPM (earnings per 1000 visits) of sites like FB (and ad-revenues in general) are pathetic. Maybe an off-shoot of FB (like the new experiments it is doing wth social-reviews) could do well and make good money, but to be valued at $120B is outrageous..

    • Kim

      I don’t even know what LinkedIn is. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of it and I get annoying emails from people inviting me to join (generated by LinkedIn itself, I presume) but I have no idea what the service is for or what it does.

      • Joel

        Kim, LinkedIn is also a social network but the target is industry people or workers sharing there resume, networking for business, etc. Nothing fancy with Zynga Games, Angry Birds or Candy Cruch like FB. It’s a really serious social network.

        If you have friends inviting you it can be useful if you look for a job for instance but through networking. You can participate to professional discussion, asking questions, etc.

        Managers, Director use it to discuss. Some business contact can be made between companies, etc again the main word is “networking”

        Globally that’s what it is.

        • Kim

          Thank you.

        • Philip Arlington

          LinkedIn is profitable (just about) and has a good niche providing a useful service at the premium end of the internet. The valuation is still crazy (P/E of 714) but it hardly deserves to be placed in the same category as companies which have never made a profit and/or may turn out to be a fad.

  • Chicken Little

    Its all about the Algorithms. Those Harvard & MIT physicists working for mutual fund & Investment fund companies are letting a computer decide what stocks your hard earned money should buy depending on how much “Noise” it has on the internet. It no longer real value. Just “Word of Faith”…Tragic

  • Frank Bell

    Only those that have not invested in stocks since 2009 are complaining… The billionaires of this world have done so, and have made millions and millions.

    Warren Buffet told the public to buy stocks, but it seems that most people didn’t take him seriously. That is why few win and the rest loses.

    I don’t see a bubble popping anytime soon. We’ve been told over and over, and nothing has happened.

    The Fed is mightier than we think, and they are goind to avoid the crash for the next 5 to 10 years.

    Besides, who wants a crash?

    Do you really want chaos, riots, murders, and so on?

    Come on!

    • ProudConservative

      who wanted a crash in 2000 or 2008? I don’t think anyone did but both happened. And they happened at about the time every said they could not.

  • Pic889

    I actually like tech bubbles. Watching nerds succeed in persuading VCs (venture capitalists) and Wall Street weasels to fund their pie-in-the-sky unprofitable projects is always fun. On topic, Facebook and Google will survive the crash (like Amazon survived the dotcom crash), twitter maybe, others won’t.

    • Scared Economist

      I don’t know about Facebook. They have reported a dramatic drop in traffic the last few months– mostly teenagers and young adults. Two young-20s friends both cancelled their accunts in the last two months. I asked my teenage daughter if she knew what was going on and she said FB is out. She said if you are on FB it’s “unkewl”. Seems the young have come to believe FB is for the “over-the-hill” crowd and they have moved on to Snapchat, Instagram, and other sites.

      • silverj

        Deactivated mine so the very last time. 23 years old here… feels good. Life’s too short to waste it on facebook. Just another distraction…

        • silverj


  • Joel

    We have a perfect storm scenario here if we add up :

    Tech Bubble
    + Stock Bubble
    + Derivative Bubble
    + the Obamacare disaster
    + “Infinite” QE
    + Increase in Food Stamp
    + Decrease in real production job
    + Commercial Deficit
    + Social Liabilities (Baby-boomers retirees needs their Pension, Medicaid, etc)

    Adding up all of those things makes the picture REALLY scary. And I don’t even speak about the news over all the Economic world of countries like China, or Big commercial block like the E.U., deciding to stop using Dollars for their business together but instead using the Euro and Huan without passing through the Dollar. The same can be said for other countries…

    The outlook is bleak for Corporate USA, as well as for Free & Brave America. My, my…

    • Kim

      Don’t forget about peak oil and the fake gas shale boom.

  • Kim

    If these companies aren’t making money, who is paying their employees these high pay packages? And why?

    • callmecordelia1

      Investors hoping to make it big when the IPO happens. They invest their millions (or billions), make a ton of money when there’s an IPO, and then get while the gettin’s good. The stock holders will be left holding the bag.

      • Kim

        You’re right. So, I guess this is the biggest scam in history. American Greed. Where does all this wealth come from? And it’s generating nothing, no material productivity, no tangible benefit, nor work product whatsoever. This is a bubble most definitely- it’s tragic, truly frightening and deeply disturbing in every sense. Edgar Allen Poe couldn’t make this craziness up.

        • callmecordelia1

          One of the (many) problems with fiat currency. There is absolutely nothing backing up all the giant piles of money that people have. It’s a game and there are very few winners. But the good news is that you don’t need a giant pile of money to be happy. I think we can prepare ourselves to be happy no matter what comes. That’s what I’m working on right now– Just preparing myself to not freak out if everything goes away tomorrow. I think we have the power within us to overcome anything. Choose faith! 🙂

          • DownWithLibs

            Nice post…you are correct. I’m just wondering when the “faith” in the fiat will evaporate?

          • callmecordelia1

            I don’t know, but it definitely can’t go on forever. I know I don’t have much faith in it!

  • Graybeardvet

    I have followed all the doom and gloom since 2008…..everyone saying the end is coming next year……2009…..2010……2011……2012……..2013… it’s 2014……….I held off trading for that new boat but not anymore……….if the end does come……maybe in 2014……2015…….2016……..2017… can send me an e-mail……..I will be on the lake fishing…….

    • Tim

      I hear ya. I’m starting to feel the same way.

    • callmecordelia1

      I know what you mean. I think the key is to keep preparing, but live for today. Preparing for a collapse doesn’t have many downsides if it doesn’t take over and keep you from enjoying life. It’s an insurance policy you hope you’ll never have to use. I say buy the boat! 🙂

    • dw

      Still waiting for Israel to attack Iran since…2007…..2008….2009….2010…..2011…..2012……2013?

  • DJohn1

    The most fascinating “investor” I ever knew of had a very simple method of investing in the stock market. During the depression she took the advice of a stock investor and lost half her inheritance. No more! She decided to invest in things she personally used instead. She was also very sharp when it came to looking at a company’s books.
    She originally had $5,000(equivalent today at $500,000 according to finance and appraisal methods used by the Real Estate people).
    If she used Tide then she invested in the company that made Tide. If she bought a car, she invested in the car company. Those were simpler times. I doubt if it would work today quite the same way.
    If she was offended by repairs to the car, she took her stock and sold it. Her idea was that the market is controlled in the long run by marketable products. If she didn’t like the product the company might go broke.

    It must of worked. She died about 10 years ago and she was quite old when she died. She left 26 million dollars to a trust fund to finance women at universities. I don’t think she ever married and she entertained herself researching companies to see which companies she would invest in.
    I don’t invest in the stock market. I think it is a pool of sharks waiting to devour the investors that do not know any better.
    The most dangerous thing is that many pension funds are invested in said market. That will be tragic for all of us. If I were to invest it would be in products I buy just as she did. Even that is no sure thing. The market is unstable even for successful companies.
    The key here is discretionary income. How much money of discretionary income do people have right now? If this and other articles are true the answer is: NOT MUCH!
    Until the basic problem of unemployment is taken care of, we are all sitting ducks in the stock market. That means that all the inside information in the world will not save the investors until someone wises up and puts the jobs and companies back here.
    That is only possible IF we make conditions here preferable for these companies to come back.

  • 2Gary2

    what a great day to be a liberal. we are going to tax the rich in NYC to pay for pre-k for poor kids. Virginia now blue. The only bummer is nj. 2 out of 3 aint bad.

    • Malcolm Reynolds

      LOL, Somewhere a one trick pony just earned it wings.

  • JAY

    this mania is fuelled by “tech experts” on bloomberg

  • robert burns

    I have been watching our national situation for decades. Every prognostication I’ve seen is littered with shoulds, maybes, mights, coulds and on and on. I don’t think anyone knows anything with any degree of certainty. No one predicted the fall of the Soviet Union or the Berlin Wall. How was 9/11 missed even after a previous attack on the WTC You cannot predict black swans. Just happens. All anyone can do is prepare for the potentials that most threaten them. There are certain “things” that everyone ought to do regardless of what MIGHT happen. Example: get out of debt or at least as much debt as possible. Live as healthy as you can and practice safe habits. Spend on needs not wants. There is never a shortage of rhetoric but a great shortage of preparations. Anyone can prepare to the limit of their personal resources. Apart from that, wait and watch.

  • Kim

    So, I guess this is the biggest scam in history. American Greed. Where does all this wealth come from? And it’s generating nothing, no material productivity, no tangible benefit, nor work product whatsoever. This is a bubble most definitely- it’s tragic, truly frightening and deeply disturbing in every sense. Edgar Allen Poe couldn’t make this craziness up.

  • Vaibhav

    Flipkart in India

  • Sonokar

    The fact is, people are starting to deactivate their FB and Twitter accounts. Both are doomed.

    For Twitter, its do the IPO now or never. After the IPO, they’ll try charging a per tweet rate but it won’t save them.

    Lots of employees will be richer from the IPO; lots of average Joe investors will be poorer. And Twitter will join InfoSpace (once at $1,300/share) in the bankrupt pool.

  • Dave

    Why isn’t Twitter profitable? They have few employees. How is Twitter costing themselves so much money? Do they pay celebrities to tweet?

    • Philip Arlington

      They have offices all over the world and generate very little income. There is no special skill to losing money, anyone can do it.

  • Philip Arlington

    Obviously some of these valuations are silly, but I think these dot com stocks are a bit of a side issue this time. Add them all up and they are a small part of the total capitalisation of the market. Meanwhile the mature tech companies are mostly on relatively modest multiples. This time the overvaluaion is spread across all (or at least most) sectors.

  • JailBanksters

    People use twitter and farcebook to bag a product not to say how good it is. Anyone that uses these to products to find products they are delusional

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