Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Balentine's Dhey

I Won't Tear Out Your Heart (most likely)

I love Valentine's Day. I'm not afraid to say it. I also love chocolate and marshmallows.

It seems like another beautiful day to gorge yourself on chocolate and marshmallow combinations, while expressing a little bit of honest sentiment to the ones you love.

I had a discussion recently with someone who expressed their view to V-Day being extremely commercial, but I counteracted his argument by saying that it's possible to have a no-buy Valentine's by reducing your activities to a mix of lovin' and homemade gifts and cards. I don't think that spending Valentine's day without someone special is an excuse to be bitter against the commercial machine of Hallmark either, because I used to do the Single Friends Round Up on February 14th. All my single friends and I would go to the Forks and go shopping, followed by dinner of Teryaki wings at Hooters (both female and males friends agreed this was good idea for some reason).

I always suggest making the most of your Valentine's Day in the way you see fit.

I also suggest going to buy discount Valentine's Day candy after the fact. Because love may go stale, but processed marshmallow goods never do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Kwedit Scores Are The Dog's Breakfast

If a duck can do it, so can your teens

Kwedit is now getting me free dog food.

Not quite, but it could, were I to make a virtual contract, for virtual money, to feed my virtual pit bull.

I'll admit that, having no real pets, I can easily transfer a small portion of my affections to a screen-full of pixels and enjoy the com of a virtual dog via the numerous social networking applications through the magic of Facebook. The way some people do the Sudoku, I just as easily find feeding my virtual dogs a 10-minute stress buster. FooPets is probably the most advanced, moving to the most realistic, 3D furry friends found anywhere on the Internets. It can be added as an application on both MySpace & Facebook and on it's own distinct site where you can breed and sell your pets for virtual currency.

The site being targeted at youngsters with parents who have jobs, FooPets (just over two years old in it's revamped form) made the logical leap to implement a "FooDollars" option where you can purchase better items with their currency, which can be purchased with Visa, Mastercard, Discover (I love when sites with intangible items create an intangible class divide with virtual haves and have-nots).

Their parent company FooMojo claims that the site was the top search for the terms "virtual pets" in the winter of 2009, a hefty feat in a world filled with competitors. To pay the designers of over 20 breeds of cats & dogs available and maintain it's popularity by offering new & exciting options, FooPets expanded into the realm of monetary direct payments for exclusive content.

Many virtual game sites (like the now famous Zynga responsible for the monstrously large, free time dissolving FarmVille Facebook application) have had trouble incorporating a pay-for-play option into the free play format. Time has shown that for small format games whose interaction is highly forum based (not World of Warcraft multi-player style), people intrinsically do not want to pipe money in to get a few minutes enjoyment per day. However, Zynga's Petville is planning on releasing a "PetCash" component very soon; I am predicting that they may use this opportunity to use an intermediate between the site and the user to increase both the security of the site's revenue and the security of the payment options.

This is where the clever duck of Kwedit flaps on by.

FooPets started using a "Kwedit" system today to purchase FooDollars on an online contract system.

Here's how it works: Using a virtual debt, you get virtual money instead of paying real money. You make a promise to pay it back in a certain amount of time. You get your FooDollars now and buy a pretty dog bed that no one else has. My pit bull Mikey is comfortable. You wouldn't like him when he's not comfortable. He gets all up in your screen.

Kwedit expects you to pay the money back as soon as possible, in the real funds the amount would have cost if you'd bought it through another form of payment. Most young users won’t have credit cards, so they can’t pay via normal online methods.

They can however print out a bar code and take it to any 7-11 store in the U.S. for payment. Or they can mail in cash via a pre-printed postage paid envelope. Users can also ask other to pay the Kwedit for them via Pass The Duck; a social payment feature that sends a message to a friend or family member asking them to pay.

Kwedit falls in between direct payments and offers. Even if users default, the site isn’t out any cash. They’re just giving away virtual stuff in exchange for the virtual Kwedit. If you pay, you're given a good "Kwedit Score" and can access rewards through the site.

Since Kwedit is in such an early stage, I'm eager to see if this become a stain on the site's history, proving the site members to be participating in a den of lies and never to be repaid contracts, or if it acts as a brilliant median for kids waiting for their allowance to putter off the 7-11 to pay their virtual debt.

I think it makes buying virtual goods even easier, and people like easy. Kwedit could be onto kwsomething.