Zynga, the Facebook games company and creator of Farmville, is reportedly about to file for an initial public offering of stock. There is no better investment for cynics looking to bet on the exploitation of America's dumbest, most vulnerable consumers.
Zynga rakes in $850 million per year in revenue and $400 million per year in profit, according to All Things Digital, and will likely try and price itself north of $10 billion in an IPO . The company makes its money selling imaginary "products" like digital crops in some of the most mindless, repetitive and cynically designed games ever made, like Farmville. Its customers include children who have stolen their parents credit cards, e-addicts on disability and fixed incomes, and people who buy credits $500+ at a time with direct bank transfers. The company ropes in customers via Facebook, preys on their saddest compulsions, and takes their money, sucking productivity directly out of the U.S. economy. It is, in other words, the biggest cultural black hole to ever grace the Facebook galaxy, and that's really saying something.
You have to give Zynga credit for one thing, though: Unlike higher minded social media startups like Twitter, it is actually very profitable. Something tells us Wall Street will care about nothing more.
[Pic: FarmVille display at 7-11, via David Berkowitz/Flickr]