Something truly extraordinary has been happening in the online world over the past two years, but unless you are between the ages of 16 and 25, you probably don't even know about it. But that won't last much longer.

The growth of MySpace has been front and center in the media over the past 12 months, in part because of the continued incredible growth of the venture but also because of social outrage generated by those who view it as an inappropriate and unsafe environment for teenagers.

The fundamental economic premise underlying social media ventures is that much of the cost of operating a social media Web site is largely insensitive to scale. The social network provides a mechanism for generating content while the users do all the actual content generation.

The objective then becomes creating a large enough user base such that the revenue generated per user is greater than the costs of operations, spread out over the entire user base. If this can be achieved, then the operating margins are potentially quite exceptional indeed.

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