There is the buzziest of buzz words buzzing around and it is Gamification. There is an official definition but I’ll sum it up like this:
Gamification – the applying of game-mechanics (points, levels, progress or badges) to non-game related things.
Inside the game development world there are lots of argument about whether this is a good thing or some evil marketing ploy to make everything we do online some sort of Skinner Box. Non-game companies are interested in gaming up their sites to make folks more loyal and to return to their sites more frequently. The idea that you will come back to the Akron Advance’s news site more often if there is an incentive to return.
The non-game companies are right to look towards gaming for inspiration but they are barking up the wrong tree. What they should be studying from game companies is their monetization strategy of micro-transactions! Micro-transactions are what the sound like, small payments that you buy in games that don’t break the bank. In games, players will pay small amounts to purchase clothing for their avatars, speed up in game processes or anything else you can think of. Very often they are tied to a virtual currency so the game developers can have players put a larger amount of value into system and they don’t have to process payments of $.03
How it would work
You are a daily visitor to the Akron Advance. You read the local news every day and look forward to your favorite columnist take on the mayor and the government. You notice that one day Joe McColumnist’s article only gives you a snippet of the news but with the option to buy Akron Advance Bucks. You pay $5 and get 500 AAB. Each article you want to fully read costs 25 AAB or 5 AAB (25 or 5 cents respectively for those of you keeping score at home) The Akronn Advance now has your five dollars, you are paid into the system with AA Bucks, you are going to come back and they have a monetization strategy outside of just advertising.
It’s not a perfect system, but it is something that newspapers online should probably try. At this point the old local classifieds aren’t coming back; the local job advertising isn’t coming back. It’s time for them to try something else.
Maybe micro-transactions for content would work?
What do you think friends? Would you pay for access to news in tiny bite size payments?
Originally appeared http://laurent-courtines.com/content-companies-are-missing-the-point-what from http://laurent-courtines.com