I had mentioned to someone over coffee yesterday that the number one online community was roleplaying games and number two was umm the other roleplaying game – The Dating Game. This “friend” had the temerity to question my figures. After a violent debate where cups may have been broken, I thought I better go double check my data.
From a Wiki at Queensland Uni of Technology:

Dating sites are increasing not only in the area of consumer usage, but also in terms of the industry’s progression toward providing both online interaction and the business models to support online communities. The online portion of the dating services industry in the US makes up a third of the total revenues (LC, 2003). In November, Florida-based Market Data Research stated that the industry in the US was worth $917 million (Gardiner, 2003). It has been found out that practically one in five men who go online for any reasons say that they check out the dating sites at least once a month. For further evidence of this growing trend, top personals Website Match.com boasts of 600,000 customers forking over $25 a month for membership, suggesting a booming business opportunity. Another online dating site, uDate.com, raked in approximately $1.5 million in June 2001. (Aronow, 2002)

3G dating services that was launched in the UK is the new initiative in the online dating industry. It marks the beginningof what could be a frenzied battle for market share in this potentially lucrative area is gradually developing. One such service is The 3G Dating Agency, a private company that has gained the backing of mobile phone manufacturing giant Samsung, as well as other networking organisations such as Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and 3.(The 3G Dating Agency)

Soooo revenue generated from online games? How do they stack up?
Same source:

Because of the intensity of immersive play and interactive experiences associated with MMOGs, the sector is finding that their increasing popularity is beginning to dominate the entertainment industry. In 2002 it was estimated that global revenues in the games sector were US$28 billion and in the USA, the Entertainment Software Alliance, which represents the major players in the games industry, found that sales of computer and video games software were US$7 billion in 2003. This current turnover for the games industry is bigger than Hollywood box office revenue. (Flew and Humphreys, 2002)

(oh … that’s what happened to the film industry? o.O )

The 31 October 2005 OPA (Online Publishers Association) Press Release “U.S. CONSUMER SPENDING FOR ONLINE CONTENT TOTALS $987 MILLION IN FIRST HALF OF 2005, ACCORDING TO ONLINE PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION REPORT” had this to say:

Spurred by growth in online music sales, Entertainment/Lifestyles overtook Personals/Dating to become the leading paid content category, with consumers spending $264.8 million on the category in the first half of 2005. Personals/Dating grew to $245.2 million in the first half of 2005, while Business/Investment content remained in third place with spending at $159.1 million.

Click here for larger picturegosh I wish they’d find a measurement standard and stick to it… I’m guessing that the higher figure of “games” could be standalone ones as well? BTW if you also excel at tantrums over coffee, feel free to post an opinion 🙂