Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tipjoy Twitter Payments Idea #1: Gifting virtual goods

Gifting and virtual goods are exploding. They're a fun and social way to tell your friends you care. Social networks and apps that build on top of them are finding that they're a great way to monetize. And every gift sent will be an ad for your service.

Build an application using our API that lets people give virtual goods over Twitter.
Create a set of virtual goods, such as images, mp3s, or short videos. Introduce scarcity: maybe each item can only be bought and shared 1000 times before it is sold out. Charge a small amount for each item, say $1.

Then users buy the good and send it to someone on Twitter, perhaps by importing their friends, and let them add a custom message.

Payments could be directed to a URL, not just a twitter username. You can make the URL the permalink for the item. It would work best if the link wasn't generic for the gift, but specific for user A giving user B an item. The tweet might then be:

@my_friend p $1 http://gifting-site/for_you I got you a Rose. Thanks for being so nice

That prominently displays the price. You could separate the payment from the notification of a gift by making them separate tweets:
p $1 http://gifting-site/for_you to give my friend a gift

@my_friend I got you a Rose. Thanks for being so nice. http://gifting-site/for_you


At July 17, 2009 at 10:14 PM , Blogger Giff said...

I'm puzzled by the payment mechanism however. At first glance it looks like a big chargeback equivalent problem waiting to happen.

From your FAQ:

"Can I cancel money once I've given it? If you have not yet paid your bill, you can change your mind about stuff you've given to. Go to your transaction history and then click the 'cancel unpaid items' link. Once you've paid, the money is non-refundable."

So an app developer has a virtual goods system. Someone "pays" for a gift or good. The transaction goes through. However, the buyer doesn't really have to put money in, they can change their mind, and the provider of the virtual good has to unwind the transaction, although at this point if it was a gift, which tends to be very time based, the issue is moot.

Same thing goes for access to premium content. The user can unwind the transaction easily, they've already gotten access to the content, and the provider is jammed.

However, just reading over your materials now so maybe I'm missing something...

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