Bloomberg provides an interesting video interview with IFEELGOODS, Inc CEO, Scott Silverman discussing Facebook Credits virtual currency.
An interesting video explaining the benefits of virtual currency over other forms of advertising on the internet.
eBay acquires mobile payments provider and microtransaction specialist Zong for $240 Million. The race to monetize the lucrative mobile/social gaming space is definitely in high gear. Articles and analysis from:
Wall Street Journal ” Zong’s customer list is a who’s who of social gaming and virtual world companies, including Zynga Inc., IMVU Inc., Walt Disney Co.’s Playdom Inc., Stardoll AB, IAC/InterActiveCorp.’s Zwinky and Shanda Games Ltd.’s Mochi Media. Not to mention the company’s arrangement with Facebook Inc. to sell the social network’s virtual currency.”
CNET ” Zong provides a mobile payments platform that facilitates carrier-direct billing for digital goods and services. Users pay for their purchases by entering their mobile phone number and payment is billed to the customer’s wireless service account. “
Forbes interviews Matrix Partners’ Dana Stalder about the rationale for the acquisition.
” There is certainly competition. I think Boku is the most-known competition here in the U.S., but there are two companies in Europe of roughly equal scale: in MindMatics Germany and Allopass France. All of these companies are formidable, but Zong has built the best team with the most direct relationships with carriers and the most converting payment flows in the business. “
” The network says that its Hub Culture Knowledge Brokerage Services has now negotiated a gold production contract in South America sold to a private European buyer using Ven.”
EA intends to integrate video ads into social games. The concept is called “incentivized social video” and the goal for the end user is to obtain points/level up/receive virtual currency (in-game) in exchange for watching an online video ad. On a side note, this is a potentially game changing promotional tool as virtually currency becomes integrated into more online activities besides games. In the long term, the trick is going to be providing some type of login or quiz that will require human interaction and thwart the bots that will be designed to game the system. A short, post viewing quiz that requires login would also provide critical feedback and invaluable data to the advertiser.
Further, a video campaign thoroughly embedded within the entire fabric of a contextually related social game would allow the advertiser to build a much more engaging and relevant experience with the end user if the advertiser is willing to “up the ante” and provide higher points or perhaps customized virtual goods that are earned exclusively by viewing a “series” of online videos and answering questions within an associated quiz widget. If this can be achieved online video advertising tied to rewards and loyalty programs should be frickin’ gi-normous. Articles and analysis from:
Games.com ” You know the feeling all too well. You hit a wall in your favorite Facebook game when you’ve run out of Energy. But instead of putting up for more, Madden suggests that players could watch a video ad for some more Energy. You get more Energy; EA gets its precious moola from advertisers; everyone is happy! Hey, at this point, anything beats shelling out cash. “
Inside Social Games ” With video advertising, Madden says he thinks advertisers can solve the challenges of engagement and scalability in social games. The trick is allowing the user to feel in control of the experience, as in not forcing them to watch an ad while playing game, and to slot the experience into the game in a targeted way. “
Forbes ” EA is already working on a new system that will allow advertisers to dynamically place brands or messaging across platforms and get measurable results that can be compared to traditional television or Internet advertising buys. “
Forbes has an interesting article that discusses the evolution of virtual currency beyond the traditional monetary form of credits. From the article:
” A big takeaway is that while we typically associate currency directly with money, the rise of the social web and quantification is shifting that reality to become more inclusive of kinds of capital that were formerly intangible. “
Zynga rolls out its own reward system RewardVille and virtual currency called “Z-Coins”. Articles and analysis from:
Red Orbit ” Media conglomerates such as Walt Disney Corp. and Time Warner Inc. should be worried, says, BTIG Research analyst, Rich Greenfield. Zynga threatens to take viewers away from their televisions and movies. Disney responded to the threat by purchasing its rival, Playdom for $563 million last year. “
NPR ” The lure this time is “RewardVille,” a show of appreciation aimed at getting players even more absorbed in their online farms, cities, crime rings and poker games. The program unveiled a week ago doles out game points and credits that can be used to buy more virtual goodies on Zynga’s existing games. “
MarketingVox ” These games’ popularity is drawing people’s away from TV sets, movies and other sources of entertainment. “Media has been fragmenting, and Zynga seems to be doing the exact opposite. It is growing at a staggering rate and reaching eyeballs that none of these companies are doing. “
Video: Zynga’s Rewardville trailer