the gist of the post is that a chinese social network cleared $1 billion in revenue last year selling virtual goods for their user's profiles and avatars:
Overall, the so-called IVAS revenue category contributed to 70.5 percent or $719.1 million, a 95.5 increase over 2007; mobile and telecom services contributed $204.7 million and online advertising contributed $120.9 million. This stands in contrast with American social networks. MySpace brought in around $800 million last year, coming in at less than a hoped-for $1 billion goal that was set during a healthier display advertising market. Facebook brought in between $250 million and $300 million (itís not focused on monetization, it says). Both of those companies have minimal virtual goods services, but continue to get most of their money from various forms of online advertising.
apparently these guys are making a killing on the virtual goods market:
virtual clothing, jewelry, backgrounds and cosmetics to customize the avatar they use in services, such as QQ IM, QQ Chat Room, Tencent Community and QQLove.
it reminds me of how toy companies make money selling new dresses for barbie; or specialty backpacks, parachutes, and weapons for g.i.joes. virtual accessories; i'm one of pavlov's dogs right now and bell's ringing ;)
considering i knew somebody who made a small yet respectable living - $400 weekly - playing video games and selling virtual weapons, on ebay, that could only be retrieved on high levels in the game, it may be a business model worth exploring.
anybody ever get into anything similar? hmmm?
[edited by: tedster at 4:43 am (utc) on Mar. 25, 2009]