NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- LinkedIn ( LNKD) set the bar pretty high for initial public offerings with its scorching debut last month, and that kind of trading can help the wider IPO market by fueling demand for the next batch of new companies to go public.

The vast majority of retail investors, of course, don't get to buy in at the offering price. Those allocations are doled out to institutional players and a few lucky retail brokerage clients. Even then, those brokerage clients only get tiny slivers of the sale. That leaves everyone else waiting until the stock's debut to get a piece of the action.



It's been a relatively strong year in terms of volume so far. Following LinkedIn and the massive $10 billion offering of Glencore International on the London Stock Exchange, the total value of global IPOs reached $80.3 billion year-to-date as of May 20, according to Thomson Reuters, up 1% from 2010's pace. And that doesn't include Yandex ( YNDX) and a host of other debuts that went off with varying success as the month drew to a close.

Stock performance, however, hasn't justified the market's enthusiasm for new offerings. The FTSE Renaissance IPO Index has only delivered 1.1% positive performance for the year, and it seems like for every winning IPO, there's a loser as well. Buzz only carries so far, especially when investor interest for some expected-to-be hotly anticipated names hasn't materialized.

What follows is a look at the three best-performing IPOs so far in 2011 as well as the three worst performers.

ServiceSource ( SREV) is the big winner so far with a 91% return. The cloud computing company originally expected to price in the $7.50-$9.00 range, but instead came to market on March 25 at $10.00 per share, and closed Wednesday at $19.08.

Beyond the initial hype, the company did deliver strong quarterly results on May 10, highlighted by a 43% revenue increase. The company manages customer relations for its clients and focuses on contract renewals. It faces little competition and says it helps its customers achieve a 15% improvement in renewals on average.

ServiceSource has also attracted plenty of favorable attention from the analyst community. Of the seven analysts coveringt the stock, six rate it at either strong buy (2) or buy (4), according to Thomson Reuters.

Most Chinese IPO's have done poorly in the aftermarket, not so with Qihoo ( QIHU). The tech company makes internet and mobile security products and is also positioning itself in the cloud.

The company priced an offering of 12.1 million shares at $14.50 each on March 29, and the stock closed on Wednesday at $26.25, up 81%. Like LinkedIn, Qihoo had a phenomenal first day of trading, jumping 134% in its debut.

By comparison, Baidu ( BIDU) rose 354% on its first day and Youku ( YOKU) was up 161% on its first trading day. Five analysts are now covering Qihoo with four rating it a buy. A positive catalyst on the horizon could be that Qihoo is about to hit the conference circuit.

The aforementioned LinkedIn is also a star so far. Based on Wednesday's closing price of $77.45, the stock is up 72% since pricing its $353 million offering at $45 per share. The business-oriented social networking company originally expected to come to market in the $34 range, so the underwriters did boost the price in the face of heavy institutional demand, but it seems they still left a hefty amount of money on the table.

After flying as high as $122, the stock has obviously come back to earth a bit but 70%-plus appreciation is hard to complain about in such a short stretch. There was a good amount of speculation that the opening of options trading a week after the stock's debut would take a toll but the shares are holding up fairly well, given the action in the broader market.

It's also worth noting that the company has already telegraphed that it's going to lose money in the current fiscal year, so it's possible that some investors could look to book gains if LinkedIn 's first quarter as a public company is awash in red ink.

There may be huge anticipation for a Facebook offering, but social network FriendFinder ( FFN) is not getting any love from the market. Based on Wednesday's closing price of $5.14, the stock is down 49% since it went public at $10.00 on May 10.

The company entered the market burdened with high interest expenses -- running to 26% of revenue -- and it's only been able to generate 5% growth on the top line, even though it's one of the most heavily visited social networking websites in the world.

FriendFinder's reputation may be a part of the problem as the company is the publisher of Penthouse magazine, but it's also home to Christian and Jewish dating sites as well.

Just being mobile is no sure bet that the company will perform. Shares of NetQin Mobile ( NQ) closed Wednesday at $6.07, down 47% from its initial pricing at $11.50.

There was lots of investor interest in this company, which is headquartered in Beijing and provides mobile security software and services in China, and the IPO priced at the high end of its range but the stock immediately dropped 27% on its first day.

The problem now is that three major telecom operators have stopped offering NQ's applications in their app stores, citing concerns about fraud. Nokia ( NOK) had supposedly dumped them as well, but then the company issued a press release saying that Nokia was in fact carrying the app. The controversy isn't helping this new company.

The third worst performing IPO so far in 2011 is Boingo Wireless ( WIFI). Based on Wednesday's close at $9.72, the stock has lost 28% since pricing at $13.50 per.

The Los Angeles-based provider of wireless mobile Internet access services got a lukewarm reception on its first day of trading on May 4, losing 10%, and things haven't improved since then.

The business model may be a bit flawed as Boingo is all about providing public Wi-fi hotspots, but many places already offer similar accessfor free. The company reports its first public quarter on Tuesday June 7th.

-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.