The Dow is touching the records set at the height of the dot.com bubble. CEOs’ pay rises are vastly outstripping their companies’ performance. The ASX and Standard & Poors are looking for a formula to bring News Corp back into the local index. And Rupert Murdoch has captured a New York analyst who’s saying MySpace could be worth US$15 billion. There must be a bubble forming.

Reuters reports RBC Capital analyst Jordan Rohan has written a research note to clients saying he had come away from a meeting with Fox Interactive believing investors may not fully appreciate what has been done with MySpace or what may lie ahead and that it could be worth US$15 billion in three years. But it seems the Murdoch gang also told him MySpace has 2 million unique users in Australia.

Which strikes me as pretty amazing – 10 per cent of the population a month after launching here. Murdoch spinner Greg Baxter reckoned there were already a million Australians signed up before the August 14 launch, which would still mean very fast work. Given that the target market is pretty much Gen Y, it would seem they’re claiming 100 per cent penetration. Jordan Rohan obviously believes it, but I tend to judge News Corp’s credibility by that of their general counsel. Reports Reuters:

Rohan said MySpace could demonstrate a value of between $10 billion and $20 billion within a few years. Acknowledging he was making an “audacious claim,” he justified the forecast on the basis of MySpace’s “raw, unprecedented user/usage growth.”

He also said the site’s “massive” international appeal, capacity to become “an intellectual property distribution powerhouse” and experienced management team lent credibility to his prediction.

Rohan based his view on an extrapolation of estimates for the value of Internet properties ranging from $1 billion for both MySpace rivals YouTube and Facebook to the market capitalization of $120 billion for Google Inc.

Ah, the old “extrapolation of estimates”… just what the dot.com bubble was built on.

Meanwhile CNN also carries a Reuters report that the founder of another social networking and classifieds site, craigslist, reckons he’s not interested in selling out.

“Who needs the money? We don’t really care,” said Craig Newmark. “We know some people who own more than a billion [dollars] and they’re not any the happier. They also need bodyguards.” 

Peter Fray

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