NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What's a user worth online?
To backtrack -- online companies track their users carefully, referring to them as MAUs. Those are monthly active users, and each is a person who's tried an online site or service and likes it.
Most of the time, MAUs refer to users of apps or websites. They usually don't pay for a service, although sometimes -- most often in the case of gaming companies -- they do.
Usually, a paying user of a service is called a "subscriber." Typically, these types of MAUs pay on a monthly or annual basis.Facebook (FB - Get Report), for example, has 1.28 billion MAUs. Its market cap is $156 billion. That's about $122 per user. However, Facebook also has acquired Instagram and WhatsApp in the past two years. WhatsApp had 450 million MAUs and was bought for $19 billion. That works out to $42 per MAU. Instagram had 20 million MAUs two years ago and was bought for $1 billion. That's about $50 per MAU. (NFLX)? The online movie distributor has 44 million subscribers or MAUs. Each streaming subscriber pays roughly $7.99 a month (more internationally); those who receive DVDs in the mail pay more. Netflix's market cap is $21 billion. So each subscriber is worth somewhere around $477.