‘Social networking’ madness continues

The New York Times today has a story claiming that Mark Zuckerberg, the 22-year-old founder of Facebook.com, turned down a $750 million offer for the company from Viacom last January, and is now being offered $900 million by Yahoo.

To woo Mr. Zuckerberg, Yahoo has offered about $900 million for Facebook and says it will keep the company somewhat independent, with Mr. Zuckerberg in charge. This has been its model with other acquisitions like Flickr, a photo-sharing site, and Del.icio.us, a social bookmarking service that lets members share lists of their favorite Web sites.

“A lot of people say there are problems with having a 22-year-old C.E.O., but one thing that is good about it is that he doesn’t remember the boom and the bust that followed,” said an adviser to Facebook. “That has distorted the thinking of a lot of people. If they have a good product or service, they sell way too early and they don’t stick with it.”

The adviser spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of continuing negotiations.

Mr. Zuckerberg, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on any potential acquisition offers.

Money, at least so far, does not seem to draw him. He lives in a barren apartment in Palo Alto, Calif., a short walk from Facebook’s office. He only bought a stereo recently at the request of his girlfriend.

“Mark is the kind of guy you worry needs to get other things in his life,” said David Sze, a partner with Greylock Partners, one of Facebook’s venture capital investors.