Juniper Research is projecting social networking is expected to overtake dating in 2009 to become the largest revenue generating segment.
Social networks are projected to generate $7.3 billion in advertising revenues by 2013. That will amount to a steady rise in revenues over 2008's projected $1.1 billion.
According to report author Dr. Windsor Holden, "It's clear that we have seen an industry wide shift regarding the implementation of business models in this area. Whereas initially there was a perception that users would pay a small mobility premium to access social networks on their handsets, it rapidly became clear that to achieve truly mass adoption, it would be necessary to offer free membership and then to augment that with advertising and the sale of premium content."
Meanwhile, Hitwise general manager of global research, Bill Tancer, is saying that searches for pornography are down about 50% due to increase in searches for social networking.
"My theory is that young users spend so much time on social networks that they don't have time to look at adult sites," Tancer told Reuters.
Tancer analyzes search behavior and its reflection on society in his new book, Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why It Matters.
What do you think of the rise in social networking? Is it changing societal behavior? Give us your thoughts in the comments.