Coder Heeds Call, Pumps Out Site Predicting Facebook’s Closing Price

When prominent investor Chris Sacca asked on Twitter for someone to “please make,” James Proud answered the call.

The 20-year-old registered the domain name and immediately began coding a site that aggregates tweets predicting Facebook’s closing stock price on its first day of trading. aggregates tweets predicting Facebook’s closing stock price on its first day of trading.

Bleary-eyed, he forwent caffeine because that would have required leaving his room. The website was coded over the course of 24 hours, from Tuesday night to Wednesday. Proud stopped only for a few hours of sleep.

The website is attracting 10 to 20 visitors per second, Proud said. Sacca, who is expected to make a sizable profit from his Instagram investment once Facebook’s acquisition goes through, logged his prediction at $56 per share. Ryan Sarver, a Twitter executive, guessed $60. Chris Dixon, an investor in Foursquare and Skype, guessed $50.

Proud’s guess was on the low end at $46. More than 1,200 others have recorded their predictions, averaging $54.

“Everyone was already talking about it on Twitter, but now, there’s a way for it to be structured,” Proud said in an interview. “This is just one of those things that didn’t take too much work to build.”

The project may have a short lifespan, but the attention it has received could help pave the way for Proud’s future. The programmer had already caught the eye of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who moved Proud to San Francisco from London last year as part of his 20 Under 20 fellowship.

“I personally don’t care too much about the Facebook IPO because I unfortunately don’t really have enough money to buy into it,” said Proud, who received $100,000 from Thiel for his two-year stay in the U.S. “If I had the money, I’d definitely invest in Facebook. I think they’re going to go up quite a bit.”

Brian Kennish, a former Google employee, is taking a different approach to the Facebook hoopla. His Web browser company, Disconnect, hacked together FBME, a utility for estimating the value of each Facebook user’s personal information.

By connecting to someone’s Facebook account, the tool reviews the person’s demographic information. An American female is worth more to Facebook’s ad network than, say, a guy in Germany, according to its system. Using those parameters, it makes adjustments based on Facebook’s current market value.

Kennish’s company makes a browser plugin that can block Facebook and Google ads from tracking a user’s travels around the Internet. The inspiration for FBME came from Klouchebag, a website that insults users based on their online influence as measured by the Klout system, according to Kennish.

“Sad but true,” he said.

Don’t expect to see something like that coming out of the official “hackathon” that Facebook is holding tonight.

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