Facebook Credits page shows that the company is launching further initiatives this week to push its credits system:Facebook acknowledges its credit giveaway on the site, saying "If you see a credit balance and didn't buy your own credits, then you likely received free credits directly from Facebook as a gift." An update to its
Besides getting Facebook Credits in your favorite apps, do you know that there are also other ways to get them? Thanks to Plastic Jungle, Rixty, Inc., Booyah, and Games.com, get Credits by exchanging gift cards, turning in spare change, checking into locations, and entering a sweepstake. This week, be on the lookout as we feature these other ways..
Giving away small amounts of virtual currency, or "seeding", is a common practice when it comes to virtual economies and can get users comfortable with spending and using that currency. With the site shutting down its virtual "Gift Shop", credits are currently only good for playing games and making in-game purchases. Is Facebook attempting makes its users comfortable spending credits on games or, as we've posited before, is it testing the waters on expanding its credits program into other arenas, such as apps and even real-world goods?
As Chris Birk wrote for ReadWriteWeb last week, "Facebook is standing at the foot of a virtual cash mountain" and "a network-wide rollout of the virtual currency application would streamline transactions online and, in effect, pave the path to the world's first global currency." With Facebook's international population exploding but banner advertising not providing a "worthwhile return on investment internationally", credits are a way to monetize the 70% of Facebook's total user base that lives outside of the U.S.
The real question is, what would you feel comfortable spending your Facebook Credits on? A single Facebook Credit, at $1.99 for 20, comes out to just under 10 cents each. Facebook takes a 30% bite out of each transaction and has said that "users paying with Facebook Credits are significantly more likely to complete a purchase than the average Facebook user." Maybe this is because the transaction is easier, but perhaps it is also because of the mental disconnect between a virtual currency and real-world currency. Giving away credits may be a good way to educate users and reinforce the idea that credits aren't actually worth anything in the real world, making them that much easier to spend.
As for my 20 free credits, they're likely to sit there, unspent, until Facebook comes up with something other than virtual, in-game goods that I can spend them on.