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Social Media Financials: People Will Pay for Sex ($16, to Be Exact) But Not for Love

Adult entertainment site operator and Penthouse owner FriendFinder Networks (FFN) spent some time this month sanitizing itself for investors by pointing out that a majority of the brands it owns have nothing to do with porn. The underlying financials, however, show that America's heart is just as carnal as you think it's going to be. People are prepared to spend money looking for sex but not for love, if FFN's SEC disclosures are any guide. The company offers plenty of non-sex services; they just don't make any money.

Seventeen of FFN's 22 brands are targeted at a general audience, the company said in a slideshow (click to enlarge):

Most of those sites are dating sites, but they offer non-racy relationships, such as for Christians and for dieters. Some of those businesses have audiences that are far greater than FFN's best-known brands. AsiaFriendfinder and both have more registrants historically than, the kinky dating site; and BigChurch and Senior Friendfinder have more than, which is what you think it is.

This offers hope for the pure of heart, surely: It looks as if Americans are often reaching for meaningful relationships over one-night stands.

Possibly not. The 800lb gorilla in FFN's business is AdultFriendFinder, with 224 million registrants since inception. It offers "friends" only in the sense of friends-with-benefits. FFN's 10-Q shows what's really going on: Revenues from the adult businesses dwarf those of the general audience. In Q1 2011, FFN had $83 million in total sales, and $55 million of that came from its adult sites:

Only $3 million came from the 17 general audience businesses. People looking for love, it seems, spend a lot less than people looking for sex. If you do a bit of math, it turns out that FFN got an average of $16.43 from each of its adult users in Q1, but its general audience users paid only 7 cents on average in the same period, and are in "disproportionate decline" to the rest of the business, FFN notes.


Image by Flickr user, CC.
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