Gaia Online is a large, forum-based social network that attracts mostly teenagers. Users can create avatars, earn virtual money by playing games, and interact with the virtual world. In this way, the service has created a realistic economy that exists solely online, attracting the attention of several well-known economists.
Gaia also includes a video hosting service and a marketplace driven by a micro economy among its members. The natural appeal of the site is due both to community and the built-in rewards system for participation.
Gaia Online was founded in 2003, and has more than 100,000 micro-transactions happening on its site every day. In addition to the games, Gaia Online also has active forums that have been host to more than a billion member posts. The service is ad-driven, so user registration is free.