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.
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