Market Overview

Facebook Threatens Peddler of Likes; Defense? "I am Mark Zuckerberg!"

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The Internet is awash with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook news today. No, Facebook did not pull a one-two punch and offer an IPO just a trading day behind Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA). (Though, Zynga would probably have liked that, given its lackluster showing in the market... but we digress.)

In fact, neither the revered social network nor its hoodie-donning founder did anything newsworthy to deserve the attention, at least until they had a couple of reasons to flex their legal swat. Rotem Guez was “poked” with a cease-and-desist after engaging in selling “likes,” which is expressly forbidden under Facebook's terms. Reinforcing his bright intellect demonstrated till that point, Guez then mounts a worthy defense strategy that entails assuming--legally!--the name Mark Zuckerberg.

Before we rest our case, and it is unlikely it would ever see any exhaustion to begin with, we have to wonder. What would possess self-described enterpreneur, er, Mark Zuckerberg nee. Rotem Guez to get himself in this mess? To parahprase him, this would force Facebook to sue Mark Zuckerberg. Genius!

Guez expects, sadly with some reason, that these events advance his profile. A large number of people the world over know his name now. Were I one of those readers that tends to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, I'd imagine Mr. Guez using his newly minted social stature to further awareness on social cancers like world hunger, state-sponsored violence in Egypt or corporate thievery on Wall Street. The realist in me, however, tells me this fellow is after some quick bucks, if any quick bucks are even there for the taking, or just to get some giggles out of roiling the social establishment.

No particular 99-percent propaganda would make the ordinary person condone the harassment on the real Zuckerberg. So far, Mr. Zuckerberg has done nothing wrong, with the possible ironic exception of having provided a platform where any nonsensical undertaking gains worldwide attention. To be clear, Mr. Guez is entitled to exercise his right to think himself a business model to sell virtual goods. After all, Zynga does it, and now any willing shareholder can get a piece of that action.

But, rules and laws are there to be respected by everyone. In the end, Mr. Guez, showed he is not averse to regulations, as he just used one to make himself homonymous with the CEO of the company suing it. Welcome to the present!

ACTION ITEMS:

Bullish:
On the subject of opportunistic entrepreneurs, where can a trader get a piece of this action? For those who side with Mr. Guez's right to take on any name he likes, trades for consideration include:
  • Long on website domain companies, like Web.com (NASDAQ: WWWW): for every celebrity out there, there is a domain with their name deranged individuals can purchase
  • Long on LinkedIn (NASDAQ: LNKD): get a professional profile to go with that newly minted website. “We sell Likes” makes for a great byline
Bearish:
Traders who think Guez is a joke, but selling virtual goods (even “likes,” if they were allowed) is genius, you should consider the following:
  • Long on ZNGA: you won't need to sell “likes” when you have crop fertilizer to trade with your online friends
</ul>Neither Benzinga nor its staff recommend that you buy, sell, or hold any security. We do not offer investment advice, personalized or otherwise. Benzinga recommends that you conduct your own due diligence and consult a certified financial professional for personalized advice about your financial situation.

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