What are examples of virtual goods and virtual currencies in social networking websites?
Virtual Gifts and Facebook Credits on Facebook
Facebook Uses Credits to Increase Promotional Gift Engagement Nick O’Neill of Allfacebook.com called Facebook credits “a trend that we’ll continue to see over the coming year: the integration of social platforms and virtual currency.”
Facebook and Lala: Facebook Adds Digital Music to Gift Store Explains Barb Dybwad of Mashable.com, “For one Facebook credit (10 cents), a “web song” can be played back online forever, or for 9 credits ($0.90) the track can be downloaded and transferred to other computers or devices.”
Facebook’s PayPal Rival? Gift Marketplace on the Way. Ben Parr of Mashable.com suggests that if Facebook provides both the gifts and the currency, they will have greater control of transactions than rival PayPal. And if Facebook adds real to virtual gifts, the revenues are even greater. “While virtual gifts will still be about $1 (10 credits), these real-life gifts could go into the hundreds of credits, as you would expect for a real-life item.” He speculates that Facebook credits might become a viable web currency.
Games with Virtual Goods for Virtual Currency on Facebook
Cheap Thrills Online game company Zynga based its businss on social networking and microtransactions, says this United.com article. And it’s reaping the rewards.
Farmtown overtakes Pet Society as Most Popular Facebook Game According to Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com, “Farmtown is currently monetizing its application through two channels: advertisements and the sale of virtual currency. That virtual currency, or “coins” as they’re called in Farmtown, can be used to purchase more items from the store. Store items range from seeds to grow more plants that you can eventually sell, animals, buildings, and many other items for your farm.”
Virtual Protests Erupt in YoVille “YoVille, one of the largest virtual worlds on Facebook, recently experienced a relatively large protest against a major change yesterday which modified the way users can earn virtual currency.” Now they have to spend money to make money, says Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com.
11 Million Facebook Users Flock to Virtual Farming Daily. Referring to its creator Zynga, Barb Dybwad of Mashable.com explains that “FarmVille and many of its other titles make money through virtual goods sales, where players spend real dollars to buy virtual currency or items in the game.”
Pay to Play? Health Insurers Exchange Fake Facebook Currency for Anti-Reform Letters. TalkingPointsMemo on award by “Get Health Reform Right” of Facebook credits for gamers who write anti-reform letters to Congress.
Virtual Currency on Twitter
PreTweeting: Twitter Gets a Prediction Market Ben Parr of Mashable.com describes how Pretweeting works: The site “focuses around the market for words on Twitter. You could make a great deal of virtual cash buying a trending topic on Twitter before it trends, or you could lose a bunch if a word drops off the list.”
5 New Twitter Games to Make Tweeting Fun. Ben Parr of Mashable explains the Spymaster game on Twitter, which uses virtual currency.
Twollars: An Innovative Approach to Fundraising on Twitter Stan Schroeder of Mashable.com calls Twollars “a very powerful virtual-currency-meets-micropayments economy that could be a great way for charities to raise funds, individuals to (directly or indirectly) support a good cause, and businesses to raise awareness of their brand by supporting a good cause.” With potential for misuse?
And a video interview with Twollars founder: Twollars video
Virtual Currency for Virtual Rewards on Foursquare
Foursquare’s Virtual Rewards StartaSocialNetwork.com writes about how Foursquare uses badges and awards to encourage specific user behaviors, such as posting a profile photo.
Virtual Gifts on Ning
Ning also has enabled the use virtual gifts. Here’s a link to their categories and prices. And more on award gifts for members.
Virtual Currency for Virtual Gifts on Hi5
Buy Hi5 Virtual Currency with Just Your Phone Number Using Paymo mobile payment system, you can buy gifts and pay for them on your next cell phone bill.
WeeWorld Virtual Gifts
WeeWorld Launches Virtual Gifting This Valentines Day. According to Kristen Nicole of AllFacebook.com, “The site has typical rewards system for an environment that’s solely virtual, as it encourages a great deal of site activity and further engages users on a variety of levels within the virtual world. That means users can earn points by spending more time on the site, playing games, and finishing quests on WeeWorld.” WeeWorld has its own virtual currency.
Virtual Currency Metrics
Twofish: Real Economic Insight for Virtual Currencies Jennifer Van Grove of Mashable.com says “Twofish hopes to help developers optimize pricing, currency exchange, and content channels, with advanced post-purchase insight.”
How do you feel about virtual gifts and virtual goods?
Virtual Currencies and Goods — Definition and Revenue Streams in Social Networks
Virtual Goods in Social Networks — How Motivation to Purchase Works
Virtual Goods in Social Networks — Alternative Business Models
More on Business Models
See also this page of related posts on social network business models.