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Techcrunch has done an interesting story about the businesses that came up with the big popular social games: things like Farmville, Pet Society and Mobsters.

The three companies that behind these and other social games — Zynga, Playfish and Playdom — have about 100 million subscribers and are making $300 million per year just from the sale of virtual goods. Making money is great, but there are some referral schemes that they offer that can get you hooked into services that will cost more than $100 per year. So, you better read the fine print.

See story: “Social Games: How The Big Three Make Millions” here.

And for a slightly darker view: “Zynga CEO Admits to Being a Scammer” here.

And for a REALLY dark view: “Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell” here.

Tom Kelchner