Tag Archive | "credits"

Comcast Agrees To $50M Settlement In Overcharging Case

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Philadelphia skyline

AfterCredits Tells You If A Movie Has A Super Secret Bonus Scene

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Have you ever left a movie theater just as the credits start to roll, only to find out that there was a totally-amazing-oh-my-god-you-missed-the-best-part bonus scene tacked on to the end?

It’s okay. We’ve all been there. Those sodas are huge, and those bathroom lines get stupid fast.

AfterCredits for iOS tells you at a glance whether or not you’re missing out. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Facebook launches local currency payments API, will officially end Facebook credits September 12

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


creditsAfter announcing its intention to end Facebook Credits last March, Facebook has launched the local currency payments API today. Replacing Facebook Credits, the local currency payments API has been put in place to simplify purchase experience, improve payments flow and make it easier to price virtual goods globally.

Facebook has asked game developers to integrate into their current and future apps, giving a 90 day window to migrate to the API. After the 90 days, which falls on September 12, Facebook will only accept payments through the API and no longer accept Facebook Credits.

Facebook has also stated that it will also be depreciating Payer Promotions for Facebook Credits and will reintroduce to local currency in the next few months. It will also depreciate TrialPay, but TrialPay will continue to support the promotions through a direct integration solution.

The new currency payments API will improve app performance by caching static prices with Facebook, but developers will also be able to price items dynamically. In early tests with select game developers, Facebook found new payments API provided for a faster and smoother overall users experience.

851575_613967865282156_25488806_n

Excerpt from earlier post in March:

Through the local currency payments API, Developers will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-U.S. users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis, as opposed to pricing their virtual goods in $0.10 USD increments as was required when Credits became mandatory in July 2011. This also eliminates any confusion that resulted from users trying to think about conversion rates for dollars, Credits and in-game currency.

The social network first introduced what it called “Pay with Facebook” in May 2009. That eventually got combined with the Credits program associated with virtual gifts that users could buy and post to each other’s profiles. In July 2011, Facebook made Credits mandatory for social games.

Only 27 million users — a little over 2 percent of total monthly active users — paid for virtual goods on the platform in 2012. Facebook generated about $251 million in games-related payments revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s nearly 16 percent of total revenue for the quarter, a percentage that has been declining as game developers invest less in Facebook canvas experiences and as the social network focuses more on its ads business.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Facebook shares new documentation for local currency pricing, sets migration for Q3

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


creditsFacebook today provided updates regarding its transition from Credits to local currency pricing. The company offered new documentation for game developers and announced that migration will occur in Q3 this year.

Facebook decided to phase out Credits in favor of a user’s local currency — dollars, pounds or yen, for example — in June 2012. This allows the social network simplify the purchase experience and give developers more flexibility. Developers will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-U.S. users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis, as opposed to pricing their virtual goods in $0.10 USD increments as was required when Credits became mandatory in July 2011. This also eliminates any confusion that resulted from users trying to think about conversion rates for dollars, Credits and in-game currency.

Facebook says it will convert any Credit balances into the equivalent amount of value in users’ local currency, which they can spend on in-app items in the same way they do today. People can still redeem gift cards and store unused balances in their account.

credit-balance

Although there is no exact date for when local currency payments will launch, Facebook says it is aiming for Q3, and developers will have at least 90 days to implement the updated payments infrastructure. The company says more information will be available in coming weeks. It also noted that Plarium, a Tel Aviv-based games developer, has already seen positive results from early testing with local currency payment in its game Pirates: Tides of Fortune.

blog_1

blog_2.1

The social network first introduced what it called “Pay with Facebook” in May 2009. That eventually got combined with the Credits program associated with virtual gifts that users could buy and post to each other’s profiles. In July 2011, Facebook made Credits mandatory for social games.

Only 27 million users — a little over 2 percent of total monthly active users — paid for virtual goods on the platform in 2012. Facebook generated about $251 million in games-related payments revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s nearly 16 percent of total revenue for the quarter, a percentage that has been declining as game developers invest less in Facebook canvas experiences and as the social network focuses more on its ads business.

More details about the new payments are available from Facebook’s developer site here.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Disrupting Discounts: ifeelgoods’ Relevant Rewards Attract Shoppers Better Than Dollars Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


ifeelgoods feature

It turns out people are 3X more likely to click through an ad and 30% more likely to make purchase that offers a $5 gift card compared to $5 off. That bit of social engineering gives personalized ecommerce rewards startup ifeelgoods the potential to reinvent the concept of discounts. ifeelgoods looks at where you are on the web and matches you with a reward that you’ll value more than money.

It’s been a rapid rise for ifeelgoods from its humble beginnings two short years ago. The company started by letting ecommerce shops and anyone else give away Facebook Credits as “micro-incentives” for completing calls to action or making purchases. You could get 2 Credits for signing up for an email list, 5 Credits for following the Dallas Mavericks on Twitter, or 50 for buying shoes from Shoebuy.com.

This is when it discovered the perceived value gap. When it A/B tested ads for the same product hawking a $10 off vs. 100 free Facebook Credits (an equivalent value), people were much more likely to click through to grab the Credits. A small discount doesn’t trigger much emotional response, but a little gift of social game currency was much more attractive. It seems people prefer something free to something cheaper.

These offers did well with people who played Facebook games because Credits were relevant to them. But what about everyone else? It needed different rewards to appeal to different customers. So it raised a $9.5 million Series A to bring it to $11 million in funding, set out on the biz dev trail, and came back with a hero’s bounty.

ifeelgoods signed on some of the biggest gift card distributors, including iTunes, Amazon, Zynga, Skype, and plus top-tier app developers. Then it brought on major advertisers like Walmart, Groupon, 1-800-FLOWERS, and Coca-Cola, and built a network to match them with the reward providers.

Now instead of one-size-fits-all rewards, ifeelgoods can tailor its promotional gifts to exactly what its audience wants. Shopping for t-shirts for your favorite bands? You might see an ifeelgoods ad telling you you’ll get a $10 iTunes gift card if you buy this vinyl box set. Or it could lure someone to buy a kid-friendly Xbox game by throwing in a free copy of the latest Angry Birds title where they might end up helping out the developer by making in-app purchases.

A recent campaign for the film Tower Heist saw NBC Universal give away one million Facebook Credits to people who clicked on rewards buttons in Facebook ads and feed posts from Pages for the movie’s characters. 52,000 people engaged with the Heist It Back rewards game, and many invited their friends to play, score free Credits, and hear about Tower Heist.

Co-founder Suchit Dash tells me “It’s not about cramming a fixed reward down the consumers’ throats. The retailer doesn’t know what someone wants as a reward. We can target consumers with the most relevant reward, like this specific game, or something they’re interested in. Or they can pick any one they want.” For example, it knows iTunes gift card offers attract more clicks when run on Apple’s iAd platform that reach Apple device users who would enjoy some extra songs or apps.

It’s wins all around. Retailers / advertisers get more conversions on the things they sell, reward providers get people hooked on their marketplaces or services, users get something fun for free, and ifeelgoods earns a margin. Meanwhile, the startup’s rewards network is getting smarter and the team keeps growing. It’s got 25 employees across Silicon Valley, New York, and Paris handling its 100 advertisers and 150 reward providers.

Disrupting traditional dollars-off discounts could be critical for the ecommerce industry. Dash explains “If I give a $5 discount on a $50 product, you want it for $45 next time. But give away $5 of free stuff and they’ll still be willing to pay $50 in the future.”


This marketing clip from ifeelgoods explains how the service works, though obviously it’s an ad so take it with a grain of salt

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Facebook Gift Cards and others make gains to be among top emerging Facebook apps

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Facebook Gift Cards entered our list of emerging applications by monthly active users this week at No. 14 with 41 percent gain.

We define emerging applications as those that ended with between 100,000 and 1 million MAU in the past week. This week’s top apps grew from between 60,000 and 170,000 MAU, based on AppData, our data tracking service covering traffic growth for apps on Facebook.

Facebook Gift Cards is an app where users can buy and redeem Facebook Credits that can be used toward purchases in games and other apps that use Facebook Payments. The social network recently added a link to the Facebook Gift Cards app in its App Center. Users may also be visiting more often as they begin shopping for the holidays.

Top Gainers This Week

Name MAU Gain Gain %
1.  Videos! 340,000 +170,000   + 100%
2.  Best Arcade Games 200,000 +160,000   + 400%
3.  Full Bloom 640,000 +140,000   + 28%
4.  Gogobot 725,427 +120,536   + 20%
5.  PNP – Portable North Pole 160,000 +100,000   + 167%
6.  Bubble Bikini 320,000 +90,000   + 39%
7.  Ghost Recon Commander 390,000 +90,000   + 30%
8.  DemonWare 550,000 +90,000   + 20%
9.  KartWorld 650,000 +90,000   + 16%
10.  Asphalt 7: Heat 280,000 +80,000   + 40%
11.  Super Mari0 480,000 +80,000   + 20%
12.  Mirrorball Slots 950,000 +80,000   + 9%
13.  Merlin The Game 220,000 +70,000   + 47%
14.  Facebook Gift Cards 240,000 +70,000   + 41%
15.  OKEY 110,000 +60,000   + 120%
16.  Critical Strike Portable 140,000 +60,000   + 75%
17.  Tug of War 140,000 +60,000   + 75%
18.  Tiki Blocks 330,000 +60,000   + 22%
19.  Turma do Chico Bento 350,000 +60,000   + 21%
20.  Cupid 470,000 +60,000   + 15%

Facebook roundup: employees sell shares, anti-trust suit over Credits, Nasdaq compensation plan and more

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Facebook execs and board member sell some shares – With the end of an employee lockout this week, some top Facebook executives have sold portions of their shares. COO Sheryl Sandberg sold less than 2 percent of her shares for more than $7.4 million. Chief Accounting Officer David Spillane sold 256,000 shares, which is more than half his entire stake, raising $5.4 million, and General Counsel Ted Ullyot sold 149,075 shares, getting more than $3 million. Early investor and board member Jim Breyer sold $81 million worth of Facebook stock earlier this week. Breyer still holds more than 7.2 million Facebook shares. VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer filed an SEC document today indicating that he is not selling any shares at this time. Facebook stock closed at $21.18 today, down nearly 9 percent from last week.

Facebook sued over Credits - Kickflip Inc., which does business as Gambit, sued Facebook this week over claims that the social network broke antitrust laws with its Credits program. Business Week says Gambit was the leading virtual currency and payment-processing provider to social game developers. Gambit claims Facebook’s decision to require Facebook Credits in 2009 destroyed a “vibrant and competitive market.” The case has been filed in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. Facebook says the claim is “without merit.”

SEC to look more closely at Nasdaq compensation plan – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has said it would extend proceedings to review Nasdaq OMX’s $62 million compensation plan following the exchange’s botched handling of Facebook’s initial public offering. Brokers say they collectively lost around $500 million because of issues on the day of the IPO, including delays in orders being put through and confirmations being returned.

FB underwriters spent millions to support stock on IPO day – Facebook’s underwriters may have spent about $66 million supporting the stock’s price on the day of the company’s initial public offering, according to a blog post by economists Thomas Eisenbach and David Lucca. The report explains how underwriters likely put in bids at $38 and $40 per share as the stock threatened to fall below the $38 offer price. This would mean underwriters spent about 40 percent of their underwriting commissions. “If this estimate is correct,” the economists say, “underwriters’ reputational concerns and obligations to the firm may have outweighed their short-run profit motive.”

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

3 Lessons That Startups Can Learn From Facebook’s Failed Credits Experiment

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Peter-Vogel

Editor’s note: Peter Vogel is co-founder and CEO of Plink, an online-to-offline loyalty program that rewards members for dining and shopping at their favorite national restaurants and offline stores. Reach him via email or follow him on Twitter.

Startups face an ever-changing series of challenges. Luckily for us, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we face a new problem. There are lots of companies out there that we can learn from, both through their successes and failures—and Facebook’s recent experiment with Credits is a great example.

Facebook made three vital mistakes that doomed the Credits experiment and never gave it a fair chance at success.

Mistake #1: Facebook Did Not Encourage Sharing — If Consumers Don’t Have A Reason To Share, They Won’t

Consumers purchased and used Facebook Credits in a vacuum. Consumers who bought Credits typically used them in social games. This is inherently a social activity, where sharing is encouraged (brilliantly, by Game developers like Zynga); however, the process of buying Credits was practically anti-social. Only the end result was shared: a social gamer had more virtual goods to share with their friends, had advanced to a higher level in FarmVille or now had a more elaborately decorated home in The Sims Social. But gamers’ friends didn’t know that they had bought Credits or used Credits as the currency to purchase those goods.

Facebook could have encouraged users to share Credits purchases by offering purchasers a few free Credits to give away to their friends. Imagine receiving the message “John just bought Facebook Credits and thought you might like some, too” along with 5 Free Facebook Credits. That would cost Facebook about $.35* per friend — a pretty low cost for a new customer starting to use Facebook Credits. The actual cost is probably only a fraction of that, because some of John’s friends would never redeem the Credits. (Five Credits has a value of $.50, but Facebook normally keeps 30 percent when redeemed, so they realize a cost of $.35 for every five Credits redeemed.)

Or, what if Facebook offered a Credits purchaser a 25 percent discount on their next purchase of Credits if the user shared or posted about their first purchase? These are two simple ideas, but the point is that there were plenty of missed opportunities for some innovative marketing tactics on Facebook’s part.

Facebook did experiment with a few ways to encourage adoption by giving away Credits to some users and offering a highly discounted rate on a user’s first purchase of Credits. Crucially, these efforts did not encourage sharing, but instead focused on individual adoption of Credits — getting users to use or buy Credits for the first time, not to share the process or purchase of Credits.

In addition, members are still not allowed to give Facebook Credits to their friends. Credits can only be redeemed in social games or in Facebook’s App Store, not exchanged between friends. Imagine the bounty you could rack up on your birthday if each of your friends who wished you “Happy Birthday!” also gifted you 5-10 Facebook Credits ($.50 to a $1.00). Imagine the revenue Facebook could generate if users regularly started sending each other a Credit for an especially funny comment or great shared picture. Facebook tested this concept at a few colleges in 2009, but ended the test quickly and never publicly shared the results. One can assume that students in that test didn’t care too much about giving or receiving Credits because at the time there was little one could do with them. In fact, if you didn’t play social games, there really wasn’t anything to do with Credits. This is a problem that never went away—Facebook never communicated to users how or why they could use Facebook Credits.

Mistake #2: Facebook Never Made A Case For Caring About Credits

Facebook never made an effort or easy way for users to find places to spend Credits. Why would a user want Facebook Credits if they had no idea what to do with them? Sure, a lot of social gamers probably knew you could use Credits in games to buy virtual goods or level-up faster, but only about 25 percent of Facebook’s users play games. Why would the other 75 percent want Facebook Credits? Unfortunately, Facebook never answered that question.

And there were more ways to use Credits, but members had no central place or listing to discover these ways to “spend” Credits. In 2011 users could have streamed a Widespread Panic concert live for 70 Facebook Credits or watched a variety of movies including The Big Lebowski, Jackass, Dark Knight and several others. In January of 2012, Facebook members could have watched the 2012 International Beer Pong Championships live on Facebook at a cost of 50 Credits. Granted, these examples are not varied enough to be appealing to everyone, but Facebook could have at least provided a central place where users could have found ways to use Credits. Lack of discoverability is one of the reasons why more developers didn’t make ways for users to spend Credits (see below). Why build something if no one will ever see it?

Mistake #3: Facebook Discouraged Its Partners (Developers) From Supporting Credits 

Social gaming flourished on Facebook and became a phenomenon embraced by hundreds of millions, because Facebook provided an open platform where developers could create games and share them with Facebook members, and, as a result, the games spread virally as members played online. The games were easy to find as Facebook then had very loose sharing/posting rules — rules that have since become stricter — that easily allowed members to see what games their friends were playing.

Facebook never created a place where members could find non-gaming ways to spend Credits. They could have placed a category or heading on the user’s home page, such as “Facebook Credits,” which showed users a listing of the various ways to use Credits. Without this central location, members had no way to find ways to spend Credits, except for gaming. And with only 25 percent of users playing games, how could the use of Credits ever reach a tipping point?

A “Facebook Credits” section could also have let users easily view their Credits balance. Currently, in order to see your Credits balance, a user has to click the drop-down menu next to the word “Home,” select “Account Settings,” click on “Payments” on the next page, and your Credits Balance will be listed at the top of the page. Obviously the average Facebook member will never see their Credits balance.

Developers were also discouraged from building ways for members to use Credits by Facebook’s 30 percent tax. Every time a member redeemed a $1.00 worth of Credits for virtual goods or a game upgrade, the developer would get $.70 and Facebook would keep $.30. This model may have been financially acceptable (barely) to developers of social games who were essentially selling virtual goods with little or no actual cost to provide, but this was an unworkable model for companies with a real cost of goods. For example, it would have been great to see companies like Netflix or Spotify offer a Facebook subscription where members could watch movies or listen to music for 50 Facebook Credits a month.

But most of these digital media companies pay royalties or licensing fees to utilize the songs and movies they provide to subscribers; often, there just isn’t a 30 percent margin left over to pay Facebook. Before the IPO, Facebook made a vague announcement that it would consider lowering that 30 percent tax on certain verticals, outside of social gaming, but nothing further was announced. By never making this change or providing pricing flexibility to other verticals, Facebook had limited the use of Credits to social gaming, hamstringing the currency from ever having a chance of becoming universally appealing.

Facebook added to the problem of not encouraging users to share Credits by not educating members on what Credits could be used for, and then put the nail in the coffin by financially discouraging developers from building applications or ways for consumers to spend Credits.

Start-ups would be wise to avoid this crippling trifecta of mistakes.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Facebook updates payments terms to reflect addition of subscriptions, Credits phase out and more

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Facebook has updated its payment terms for both users and developers following Tuesday’s announcement that it would support monthly subscription billing for apps and games on its platform and phase out Credits in favor of a user’s local currency.

Note that Facebook’s transition from Credits to local currency is not an indication that the social network is getting out of the payments business. In fact, it is expanding it to be more similar to Apple’s iTunes App Store model, rather than emphasizing virtual currency. This should give Facebook more flexibility as it looks to monetize apps beyond games.

Overall, the new policies are more comprehensive and better organized, which is important as the number of users and developers who use Facebook’s payments platform expands over the next year to include more non-game transactions.

For users, the social network added more information and terms about various payment methods, and made it clearer that users under 18 cannot use Facebook Payments only with the involvement of a parent or guardian. The age stipulation was previously one of the final points on the user terms page. Now it is in the second paragraph. The payment methods section, including a definition of Facebook Credits, is completely new.

In the new payment methods section, the company expanded its payments terms to explain its policy around gift cards and introduced terms around mobile billing. For example, Facebook noted that it is not a bank and that gift card balances are not deposits and do not earn interest. Surprisingly, Facebook didn’t make any mention of mobile billing in its previous policy. The social network recently rolled out a two-step payments flow for mobile apps, but has supported mobile carrier billing for years.

Readers can compare Facebook’s new user payment terms with its previous policy from March 27 here.

For developers, Facebook changed its “Facebook Credits Terms” to the new brand of “Facebook Developer Payment Terms.” The terms page now includes more explanation of payouts and introduces the term “developer balance.”  Whenever developers complete a sale on the platform, Facebook will credit the proceeds, minus a 30 percent service fee, to a developer’s balance. The new policy is reorganized with clearer headlines and explanations, for example, including a section called “Your Responsibilities and Risks.” The section compiles conditions that were previously incorporated into several different areas of the document.

Developers can compare Facebook’s new developer payment terms with its previous credits policy from November 2011 here.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Facebook to launch subscription billing for apps, transition from Credits to local currency

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Facebook will soon support subscription billing for apps on its platform, according to a post on the company’s developer blog. The company will also phase out Credits in favor of a user’s local currency — dollars, pounds or yen, for example.

Subscriptions will launch to all developers in July, though Zynga and Kixeye are already testing the feature for their games. This change gives developers a way to charge users on a monthly basis, rather than relying on individual virtual goods purchases. The alternative model could help developers and Facebook better monetize. It could also be a start to getting non-game developers to try Facebook’s payment platform.

As our sister blog Inside Social Games explains, subscriptions could lead players to spend more in games and also makes Facebook a better option for developers of free-to-play browser-based massively multiplayer online role-playing games.

We’ve previously written about how the social network was likely to introduce subscriptions as a way to monetize non-game applications. Because Facebook Credits aren’t required for these apps, only a few developers use them. For example, some studios offer movie rentals for Facebook Credits. These companies might now consider testing a subscription model that gives users access to more movies or special features if they sign up for a multi-month package. Facebook subscriptions will also support free trial periods, which could incentive users to sign up.

Other businesses built on Facebook, such as professional networking app BranchOut or news apps like Washington Post Social Reader, might find uses for subscriptions, however the social network’s 30 percent fee is likely to turn off many developers. For companies like Spotify and Netflix, which have to pay huge licensing fees to rights-holders, losing 30 percent simply isn’t an option unless they significantly increased their prices. But at higher price points, consumers might not decide to subscribe at all. [Update 6/19/12 2:08 p.m. PT - A screenshot of a sample subscription settings page on Facebook's developer site includes Spotify, MOG and RunKeeper as sample apps using subscriptions. It's unclear whether these are simply examples or actual developers in the beta program.]

Although the 30 percent fee is standard for app platforms like Apple and Android, it is far more than what online payments systems like PayPal charge. PayPal takes a 2.9 percent fee plus a $0.30-fee for each transaction. Facebook acknowledged in a regulatory filing that it might reduce its fee, but for now the 30 percent seems to stand.

Facebook, though, is in a unique position to streamline payments and offer developers useful data about who’s paying for subscriptions. If businesses can automatically gather information they would otherwise have to ask users for through forms, Facebook’s payments platform would be more attractive. Ease of implementation, increasing conversions and providing useful reporting are all areas the social network will need to improve as it expands its payments business.

With the latest phase out of Credits and by now supporting pricing in local currency, Facebook can simplify the purchase experience and give developers more flexibility. Developers will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-U.S. users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis. This also eliminates any confusion that resulted from users trying to think about conversion rates for dollars, Credits and in-game currency. Facebook says it will convert any Credit balances into the equivalent amount of value in users’ local currency, which they can spend on in-app items in the same way they do today. People can still redeem gift cards and store unused balances in their account. Any apps or games that sell virtual items will be required to use local currency by the end of the year.

The company first introduced what it called “Pay with Facebook” in May 2009. That eventually got combined with the Credits program associated with virtual gifts that users could buy and post to each other’s profiles. In July 2011, Facebook made Credits mandatory for social games, leading payments and fees revenue to make up about 18 percent of the company’s revenue in its most recent quarter — up from a 13 percent in Q1 2011. Only 15 million users — fewer than 2 percent of total monthly active users — paid for virtual goods on the platform in 2011. Facebook has helped individual game developers who wanted to implement a recurring pay cycle in the past, but for the most part, subscriptions haven’t been an option until now.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

December 2014
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031