NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Last year at this time, I published a column focused on the proliferation of initial public offerings of companies offering "free" services. These names generate revenue via advertising, while some also offered premium versions of their products, or bells and whistles to consumers that come with a price.The common theme among the four companies, which included LinkedIn (LNKD - Get Report), Pandora Media (P - Get Report), Groupon (GRPN - Get Report) and Facebook (FB - Get Report), was that they all offered interesting products, but I'd never spend a dime on any of them. No bells and whistles for this cheap value investor, and not one thin dime of investment capital in any of their stocks. One year later, it's time to see how they've done; where my decision to avoid these stocks has paid off, and where it has not.
Pandora has also had a nice run, with the stock rising about 50% in the past year. Pandora has been a constant companion during the many hours I've spent rebuilding our flooded Jersey shore property; the free version that is. I still won't pay up for the no-commercial version.
Pandora has also seen some solid growth, with fourth quarter revenue up nearly 54%. The company is not currently profitable, however, although consensus estimates are calling for a penny of earnings in fiscal 2014, and 19 cents in 2015. That puts the forward price earnings ratio for 2015 at 85. Once again, love the product, but not the stock.