The paidContent 50: The Most Successful Digital Media Companies In The U.S.

40. FriendFinder Networks

FriendFinder Networks

U.S. 2010 digital revenue: $200 million

Snapshot: FriendFinder may be best known for owning Penthouse (and for unsuccessfully trying to buy Playboy in 2010) but the company makes most of its money from its adult social networks and dating sites, which include FriendFinder.com, BigChurch.com and, yes, Bondage.com. It says more than 405 million people have registered on its sites to date.

When it filed to go public in January 2010, the company tried to present itself as being in the social networking business, comparing itself to Facebook and MySpace. Investors, however, weren’t convinced (or possibly were put off by its poor financial state) and the company pulled its offering, citing “market conditions.” This month, though, the company once again filed to go public.

Key digital move in 2010: After retreating from its first attempt to go public, FriendFinder raised $551 million in debt financing in October in part to fund “three big initiatives” it said would soon launch. We’re still waiting to hear what they are.

How we generated our estimate: The company generated $346 million in sales in 2010. Fifty six percent of that total came from North America.