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Life in the burbs…

A few years ago, friends of mine were going through a rough patch in their marriage because she was spending too much time on a site called Adult Friend Finder (no link included for firewall reasons) — something that the husband only found out about after hiring a private detective. I was fascinated with the story, in part because I thought that bored suburban stay-at-home moms surfing the Internet for hook-ups had the making of a Lifetime TV movie, or at least a good magazine article. But I was never able to get any real numbers on exactly how big of a trend this really was, in part because the company was privately owned.

Well, yesterday those numbers became a lot clearer because FriendFinder, filed this S-1. Quite frankly, we would have expected them to file it today — given that it’s Christmas and the SEC is closed on Friday, so it would have been easier to bury. What the numbers show is that there’s an awful lot of bored suburbanites out there (and people who live in the city and rural areas too). The filing shows that there are 1 million people who pay about $19 a month for access to the adult sites. Revenues were $244 million for the first nine months of the year.

Lots of other bloggers — including many who don’t normally read SEC filings — have been all over this story (see here and here among others) and the S-1 does make for fascinating reading, especially the part that warns about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. But at 469 pages, it’s a lot to get through.

My guess is that bored suburbanites notwithstanding, this will probably never actually go public. After all, they’ve been talking about it since March and it doesn’t seem like a great time for any IPOs, let alone a controversial one with some tough numbers. But I’ve been wrong before.

Clearly, this is in the running for one of the more interesting pre-Christmas filings. Still, judging by the pace of filings today, my guess is there will be more. We’ll be back on Monday with a look at those.