NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It seems that I've lost a few friends recently by suggesting that investors should blame themselves for their losses in Facebook (FB - Get Report) instead of the company.
But I'm long on personal responsibility and short on excuses -- particularly when greed is involved.
My stance has generated more than the normal volume of hate mail. And as I glanced through several of the notes, I saw that many investors insisted that the company should have "talked down its stock," as its underwriters were clearly overvaluing its IPO. But what company does that?
That said, how Facebook went public will forever change the landscape of the IPO market and the scrutiny venture capitalists and underwriters receive, and deservedly so. Looking at its initial pricing of $38 and where it trades today at $18, to say the company has underperformed would be a gross understatement.
However, I think it is time to stop looking in the review mirror and instead look at the windshield. You just might like what you see.
The fact of the matter is, Facebook's stock and its business are two entirely separate things. Expectations and performance of the equity when compared to its business fundamentals are not only different, but they're being unfairly judged. As beaten up as the company might be by investors, Facebook's popularity among users continues to grow.
Facebook is second to
(GOOG - Get Report)
among the most widely visited websites in the world, according to Alexa. With its integration into
(AAPL - Get Report)
mobile iOS, as well as investments made by
(MSFT - Get Report)
, which owns the Bing search engine, it's not hard to see the company eventually becoming the leader and surpassing Google. And who knows, it may even trade at Google's current valuation -- over $600 -- 10 years from now.
There are many positives with the company, not the least of which is the fact that it continues to grow its user base rapidly. It now reaches 955 million people, representing an annual increase of 29%. It's not a stretch to predict that number will exceed 1 billion by the end of the year.