When a new MMO is released, about a hundred websites pop up offering some kind of service relating to the game. These websites include wikis, forums, item databases, 'armories', games stats etc. I would imagine that a professional website for a popular MMO would receive daily hits somewhere in the millions (and then some if the game is something like WoW). I'm no business expert, but I could image that the advertising revenue for a website like that would be considerably high. It wasn't that long ago that Wowhead.com sold for over a million dollars. Not bad for a database with a 'pretty front end'.
So this raises the question: why don't the games companies build these kind of websites and make a few dollars on the side? After all, they own the data. It would only be a matter of slapping a 'pretty front end' on it. Given that they could build the website prior to the release of their game, they would have a good headstart on the competition. I wonder if there is a particular reason as to why the game companies don't milk it? To me it seems like a wasted opportunity.
You're probably wondering, why should I care?
I care because if game companies have an alternate source of revenue to the usual sales, subscriptions and micro-transactions, it might encourage them to lower their prices. Better yet, make the game completely free. Some time ago I explored different pricing models for online gaming and I think this constitutes a new model. Profit through indirect advertising. I can't actually think of any bad points for this model. The gamers get a cheaper / free game with supporting websites and the game company has a source of continuing revenue. Am I missing something or does everyone benefit?