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Social gaming is the driving force behind the billion-dollar virtual currency market. Popular social games on Facebook such as Farmville and Mafia Wars have turned startups like Zynga into IPO candidates, and have led to an ecosystem of companies that have come up with alternative ways for consumers to pay for digital goods online.
But for social game developers, building social games that have staying popular looks like it may be a challenge. As reported by Inside Social Games, the past two months have been particularly difficult for some of Facebook's most popular games. In April, over half of the top 25 games, as tracked by Inside Social Games, lost users. And the drops intensified this past month.
Has virtual currency jumped the shark, or has it become such a mainstream phenomenon that the ability to free virtual currency might be enough of an incentive to get some individuals to eat their broccoli? Social gaming company Zynga and Green Giant, the vegetable company owned by General Mills, are going to find out.
The unlikely pair have teamed up to offer purchasers of Green Giant products free virtual currency that can be used within Zynga's most popular game -- Farmville.
Facebook has sat by and watched as prominent application developers
have made millions upon millions of dollars on its platform, primarily
through virtual currency. Not surprisingly, Facebook wants a piece of
the action and is moving to take a piece of the action.
But that may not be so easy if the results of early deal making efforts are any indication. Application developer Zynga, which operates some of the most popular social gaming apps on Facebook, including Farmville and Mafia Wars, may leave Facebook and set up its own gaming social network after negotiations with Facebook over the use of Facebook's upcoming universal payments and credits system reportedly fell apart.
Meet the newest billion-dollar internet startup: Groupon. Russian firm Digital Sky Technologies, which has provided big funding for other big startups in the social space, namely Facebook and Zynga, has led a $135m investment in the young but profitable Chicago-based startup. The valuation: a cool $1.2bn valuation, which some observers believe is still "cheap."
Groupon is attracting a lot of attention these days, and for good reason. The U.S.-based group shopping service has fueled a worldwide gold rush in the group shopping space.
Social gaming powerhouse Zynga has built a business potentially worth north of a billion dollars. And it doesn't sell anything. Real, that is.
By some estimates, the company will reportedly pulls in over half a billion dollars in revenue this year selling virtual goods, such as virtual tractors and furniture, that are used in social games that are played by hundreds of millions of people each month on social networks like Facebook.
Social networking giant Facebook is reportedly going to pull in approximately half a billion dollars this year in advertising revenue. It's a significant amount, but hundreds of millions of dollars more are being made on Facebook through virtual currency transactions that Facebook has no part of.
Facebook, of course, has its own official virtual currency, Credits, but most Facebook app developers can't integrate them with their apps, and are not required to use them.
The market for virtual goods, and the CPA offers that many consumers complete to purchase them, is under attack. The first salvo was fired by TechCrunch's Michael Arrington and the battle has now spread to the mainstream media.
The fallout was quick. And it continues: after being the target of no less than six TechCrunch posts in the past week relating to these 'scam' offers, Zynga, one of the most prominent companies in the space, has removed all of its CPA (lead gen) offers while it seeks to work with the third party networks that provide them to root out the types of offers that have come under fire.
Facebook advertising has been flush with good news lately — the company just announced that it is profitable for the first time and advertisers are increasing their buys across the network. But a new report showing that Facebook ads result in more engagement than display ads on other sites isn't the only reason people are investing in display ads on the network.
According to Lotame, social media ads result in fewer clicks but more engagement from consumers. But the real killer app for Facebook — for now — is virtual goods.
Social gamer Zynga is making a killing on the social network, and the company is scratching Facebook's back in return — pouring millions into ads to increase its user base.
If you had to guess what the most popular Facebook app on Facebook is, chances are you're not thinking that it has anything to do with fruits, vegetables and cows. But you'd be very wrong. What is the most popular app on Facebook? FarmVille.
As the name suggests, FarmVille is a game that gives users the ability to "grow delicious fruits and vegetables and raise adorable animals" on their own virtual farms. With nearly 35m active monthly users and 12m active daily users, FarmVille has just about grown itself into the most popular Facebook application ever. When FarmVille surpasses 35,554,755 active monthly users, it will surpass the record set by the How Well Do You Know Me? application.