The success of modules used on the social networks has led to the take-off of a new market, bringing – directly or indirectly – potentially significant numbers of new jobs and sources of income.

In the United States, the Facebook applications market is a major generator of both value and jobs, a study carried out by researchers at the RobertH.Smith  BusinessSchool, Universityof Marylandreveals.  The researchers looked at a sample of 161 businesses active in this market.  They then analysed their profits, the number of workers entirely dedicated to this field and their average income.  Results show that this market has led to the creation of 180,000 jobs during 2011, generating salaries and benefits worth over $12 billion.

Multi-function apps have under-rated potential

The researchers’ explanation for these results is the proliferation of applications hosted on Facebook. Apart from flash games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, and music apps such as  Spotify, many other network functions contain apps that could be a money-spinner.  The potential of the "like" button, for instance, has been greatly underestimated.  This button effectively lets people give their seal of approval among a community of friends to any item on the site, which means that it has considerable potential to generate value – i.e. for those companies which plan to market actively on the social networks.   

Estimate is on the low side

In fact the estimate given in the study is a low one, given that online game giants such as Blizzard and Electronic Arts are not included. Basically, it proved very difficult to identify employees at these companies who are really involved in creating these apps as opposed to people who have only a tenuous link to these activities. The high estimate puts the number of jobs created at 235,000, with salaries and benefits worth €15.5 billion.