Facebook has announced that it is like to earn $500 million this year.

Marc Andreessen, Facebook board member and former Netscape founder, announced the projection and further prophesised earnings in the billions within five years.

Adreessen stressed Facebook’s projections would be over a billion had they pushed harder for advertising. Growing the user base and retaining current numbers were priority one however:

This calendar year theyll do over $500 million. If they pushed the throttle forward on monetization they would be doing more than a billion this year… Theres every reason to expect in my view that the thing can be doing billions in revenue five years from now.

Andreessen said Facebook shareholders currently jettisoning their stock were making a mistake.

Commenting on competitors, Andreessen said Twitter (currently not generating revenue) should follow suit and grow their market share. He criticised MySpace’s focus on advertising rather than improving their platform.

Facebook is allowing certain shareholders to sell to Digital Sky, a Russian firm that in May invested $200 million into the site, as its own initial public offering is a few years away.