communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.

4/25/2010

Facebook credits - the social network is trying for an economy of its own

If you're a non-gamer like me you will probably not have heard about FB credits, a form of in-network payment which lets you purchase virtual goods for the FB games and apps you like to interact with.
It seems that this system has been on for a while but it is so slim in spreading out that FB have recently had to consider a whole "promotional" program to get the ball rolling.

As I understand, in a nutshell, the way the credits worked was were much similar to what you would get if you signed up for Second Life about 4 years ago. At that time any new account used to get free land and some Linden Dollars to stimulate purchase of virtual goods. In very much the same fashion, if you're a FB user with a lot of games to play you could purchase FB credits with your credit card and then use them to get game add-ons or perks like cheats or extra energy or stuff like that. So, actually, FB was a financial intermediary between the app/game developers and yourself. [more on what you can use credits for here]

However, it seems that the credit craze has not caught on because recently FB announced some promotional stuff coming users' way in the line of credits. They will be giving out credits to get people used to using them and also allowing people to gain credits by simple on-network actions so without actually using credit card money to pay for the credits [read more here].

It seems to me like the next logical step: FB might have imagined that users will jump at the opportunity to buy gaming goods but in reality they may have overestimated the traction FB games have had so far. Compared to SL or WOW, FB games are still baby games and, at least until Mafia Wars and Farmville showed up, had little potential of getting people wild and digging deep in their pockets for money. The FB profile also, in Romania at least, is not hard core gamers but rather socializing freaks.
so, I personally cannot wait to see how this new credit initiative is going to work. I would have added credits for making profile crazier looking and boosting your social status on the network. somehow it feels that's that FB is about in Romania.