Facebook and ads, Oracle and the cloud, the future of Netflix

A Monday morning grab bag of Silicon Valley company news:

• First, an update on Facebook‘s continuing quest to keep bringing in the revenue. The online world’s main money-making metric, popularized by Google and search, is clicks — how many people clicked on an ad? A story? Now, the world’s largest social network, whose value to advertisers has been questioned, will reportedly tell advertisers in New York today there’s more to online life than clicks. For example, it can provide data on in-store sales related to Facebook ad campaigns, according to Reuters.

And Forbes points out that Facebook over the weekend laid out the ways it targets ads: custom audiences, which allows advertisers with a relationship to a Facebook user to specifically target that user; Facebook Exchange, which targets users based on Web activity outside Facebook; and its recent partnership with Datalogix, which allows it to track in-store purchases and compare that information with its own data.

Facebook shares were up about 1.5 percent to $22 as of this post.

Oracle‘s annual OpenWorld conference is this week. A couple of developments: The Redwood City company is firmly on board the “cloud,” which CEO Larry Ellison derided at a past OpenWorld as “complete gibberish” used to describe computing that already exists. (See Cloud-hopping from Redwood City to Paris.) The company now is offering on-demand computing as part of the Oracle Public Cloud, in competition with Amazon.com, Ellison announced Sunday. It was just one of a few cloud-related offerings announced by the company whose cloud efforts seek to run businesses’ computer operations from afar.

By the way, the Merc’s Steve Johnson has written a profile of the man synonymous with “flamboyant.” Ellison is 68 years old, but observers say the challenges faced by the company he founded more than 30 years ago — including cloud computing and the apparent lack of a natural successor — make it likely he’ll be sticking around for the time being.

Oracle shares were up about 0.5 percent to $31.62 as of this post.

Netflix shares were up sharply, more than 2 percent to $55.65 as of this post, after Whitney Tilson reportedly became the latest prominent investor to “step into” the Los Gatos company’s stock. Tilson, who once bet against the online video-rental provider, now touts its potential for international growth and says “it has a light business model.” That’s contrary to previous coverage that Netflix faces high costs to secure content. (See Paused: the online video revolution.)



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