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The first gold-rush miners to make any money during the 1840s were the ones who stopped digging and started selling shovels, according to Timesman Brad Stone. Today a similar operation from Mark Pincus, founder and early Facebook investor, announced $10 million in funding from Union Square Ventures, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Bob Pittman.

The venture is called the Zynga Game Network and it's the company behind social network apps such as "casual games" Poker, Attack, and Battleship. So far, Zynga makes all its money by promoting other applications, earning 50 cents each time a user installs one on their profile.

Pincus told the New York Times Zynga has already broken even and has not yet tapped into any of its venture capital. Users click on about 50,000 links to application install pages each day.

Let us know when Coca-Cola buys ad space. Until then, the Facebook application platform will remain a viable economic ecosystem like the Hapsburgs were a model of genetic diversity.