Location-Based Mobile Social Networking: A $3.3 Billion Market In 5 Years?

Location-based mobile social networking is just getting started in the U.S., and there’s a lot of hype surrounding it. But will that hype turn into dollars?

Research firm ABI Research predicts the nascent industry will turn into a $3.3 billion market worldwide by 2013. Where will that money come from? Location-based mobile advertising “holds a lot of promise,” notes ABI analyst Dominique Bonte, in a statement. But “the current reality” suggests licensing and subscription revenue-sharing — like Loopt’s recent deal with Verizon Wireless — the most likely near-term revenue streams.

It’s hard to put much weight in pie-in-the-sky predictions like this: It’s one thing to take an existing market and plot out a growth chart. Bit right now the industry is a goose egg, give or take a couple million. We’d hold off before predicting a huge boom.

More interesting to us: Whether today’s location-based mobile social networks — like Loopt, Whrrl, etc. — will be able to outlast more established social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and maybe LinkedIn, once location becomes a feature on those platforms.

When you already have several hundred friends on a social network, it’s a lot easier to add a feature like location than it is to add several hundred friends on a network whose main attraction is location.

See Also:
Nokia Picks Up Social Networking Service Plazes
Sense Networks: Making Coin Out of Location Data and “Reality Mining”
How To Make Location-Based Ads Work Now: Ignore GPS

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.