With the Web 2.0 conference about to kick off in San Francisco, Internet start-ups are unveiling new products and tossing out crumbs of data about their businesses intended to illustrate how fast they're growing.

Social-networking firm Ning led the charge on Tuesday with the news that it has grown 300 percent year-over-year to 36 million registered users and that it is jumping on the virtual goods bandwagon.

The company said it will begin selling virtual goods across the 1.6 million specialized social networks that exist on Ning for $1.50 per gift. The company said it will split 50 percent of the revenue with the Ning network creators who offer the goods on their respective networks.

Virtual goods are increasingly catching on as an attractive revenue stream for Internet companies.

Zynga, the hot videogame maker for social media services like Facebook, said it raised $427,000 from three weeks worth of virtual goods sales on its FarmVille game, according to the Silicon Alley Insider.