Thread: "Earning Zen"
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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,560
# 22
08-25-2012, 04:15 PM
I read a really neat book about the future of free pricepoint items.

There's a lot of legit stuff out there that's free, including airline tickets. And it's not all a marketing gimmick; the smart stuff is the reversal of a business model.

For example, imagine a video game developer that went to CBS and said, "We want to make a Star Trek game." And CBS said, "How much do you want to pay us for it?" And the developer said, "Actually, we think YOU should pay US." And then had a presentation showing why that was a good idea.

Reversing business models for free stuff is the smart kind of free, whether it's getting a third party to pony up for ads so that you can give something away to consumers or charging your supplier and giving money to your customers. In a sense, that's what PWE's role in these programs is.

But Peanut Labs is not the best partner for that in its present state. They've improved, believe it or not, in the last two years. But I think it's a matter of time before a quality outfit outperforms them at what they do. And I think a quality outfit wouldn't get itself tied in with all these bookclubs and clearing houses and 3rd party scam sites and free trial offers.

A real quality outfit would be able to offer PWE Zen sponsored offers that don't have hidden purchases or involve junk mail. Granted, that might require more targeting on PWE's part too.

I've done VERY basic research into STO's demo before. It's very affluent by MMO standards.

Take a look at trade magazines. Those are offered free. They generally aren't dinky at all. No gaudy pop-up ads. And they're offered free because they hit a valuable demo of some kind. You know, restaurant owners, wine bottlers, fashion designers, people that are taste makers. At a certain point, you can transcend the need for currency based on status, whether high status or peculiar status.

There are also ways you can monetize a userbase. I learned recently how a lot of illicit and pirate sites work and a lot of it comes down to hidden labor, turning the users into a farm for deciphering captchas and keygens.

I think we'll eventually see an MMO in that vein. Not just FREE to play but potentially where at least some of the players get paid to play. There are rumblings that direction with major league gaming and such.

But I expect at least a couple of big efforts at "less than free to play" in the coming years.