Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Facebook, Zynga, and my brother-in-law

Facebook just announced today that one of its biggest games, "FarmVille," has more users than all of Twitter. Here come the numbers from

Worldwide Facebook is clocking up 200 billion page views a month, with 350 million users globally logging into the site.
When it comes to the site's online chat function, 1.6 billion messages are sent every single day and 1.4 million photos are uploaded a second. Facebook is also now hitting 23 million unique users a month in the UK, with each of those people logging on spending around 25 minutes on the website a day.

That's huge. So big that Zynga, the Facebook gaming company , has become one of the fastest growing companies in the country thanks to Facebook games like Mafia Wars and Farmville. Yes, they're the ones who are to blame for all those annoying updates. (They're easy to hide, by the way.)

In fact to illustrate the point of how big Facebook is getting, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying, "69 million active users are using FarmVille alone, that's more users than Twitter."

So, for full disclosure and to do a bit of bragging, my brother-in-law works for Zynga, the makers of Farmville. These games are growing at an amazing clip. I've had everyone from my 5-year old nephew to my 65-year old uncle update me about their prowess building their roller coaster or other game goal. My big question was how do these "free games" make money.

The answer is from selling items for the game for real cash. Normally, in Farmville, you have to earn coins to say buy a new barn. But if you're really into it... really really into it, you can also buy that new barn for just a few coins. Who does this? Only a few people. Just think though, if only 1% of those 69 million people buy a $1 barn, that's a good chunk of change.

Go Facebook. Go Zynga. Go Bro.

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