The Technium

How to Get People to Pay

Figuring how to make money in freeconomics is the challenge of our times. While the free is always an option (that is the point of Technology Wants to Be Free and Chris Anderson’s new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”), free is NOT the only option. Sometimes the best way make money is to actually charge fans for what you produce. Dan Cook who is flash game developer has written an amazingly comprehensive and level-headed outline of the options available for creators. I think his guidelines work not just for gamers but for photographers, musicians, software programmers, authors and anyone else producing in the digital economy. It is brilliant, honest, wise.

I think this tutorial the best thing on the digital economics since Better Than Free.

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Dan says:

When you design your game, pick three or four revenue streams and build them into your game.  Here are some categories of users that you may want keep covered.

  • People who don’t want to pay: Advertising is a good option to keep around. A few hundred bucks is still money in the bank.
  • People who are interested in more of the same: Once you’ve established the value of your game, some players want more.  Give them more levels, more puzzles, more enemies in exchange for cash.
  • People who are interested in status or identity improvements:  Some people see games as means of expression and identity.  Give them items that let them express themselves or customize their experience. 
  • People who have limited time: Some people live busy lives and want to consume your game when they desire and how they desire.  Cheat codes, experience multipliers and other systems that bypass the typical progression all help satisfying this customer need.

  • Mark Essel

    Looks like I have some reading to catch up, the simplicity of Dan’s targeted audiences is genuinely compelling.

    I find myself spending many hours thinking about how best many content producers, Internet Entertainment & Information Businesses. I’ve recently (March this year) become enamored with the flow of information within social media. I freely share my thoughts, likes and dislikes with vibrant communities.

    I put together a number of posts (~10 or the equivalent of 1 of your juicy posts) about how the progression of technology could leverage this information into more relevant suggested links and advertisements. About a month ago I decided to put up or shut up, and began building on top of “the shoulders of giants” (leverage semantic tools from Zemanta, and social status from twitter).

    I now have a very rudimentary, single status to contextual advertising example and once I have a blog/site plugin I’d be more than happy to share it with like minds. I’m in the process of adding memory/user authentication now. Eventually there will be a user profile page where folks can manually add tags of interest and adjust sliders to represent their weight. These tags can be used in real time to search for relevant conversations, links, and advertisements. The location of the social status message can also be used (not there yet but soon).

    Let me know if you’d like to see the very crude version I’ll point you to a site.

  • Mark Essel

    Oh how dependent on editing I am.
    I find myself spending many hours thinking about how best many content producers, Internet Entertainment & Information Businesses may monetize.