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April 11, 2011

Social Games are a Marketer’s Backdoor

by massmarotta
Wanted Spam

The phrase “unwanted spam” use to be a redundant statement.  I mean, who WANTS spam anway? Well, thanks to social gaming and according to eMarketer, approximately 69 million Americans do.

We as consumers are voluntarily opting-in to spam, and indirectly, opting-in our networks of friends and colleagues into getting spam.  How exactly? With social games developed for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Facebook.

It’s quite an achievement by game developers and marketers. They realized that consumers are motivated by an addiction to building status and the ability to easily brag to their social networks by posting their most recent virtual accomplishments.  I’m sure you’ve noticed your news feed cluttered with these types of postings.

The mechanics of most social games are fairly straightforward. With just a few clicks of the mouse and some basic math skills, users on their own can “level-up” and continue to broadcast their achievements to their networks over and over again. But recruit friends in your adventures and your “productivity” goes through the roof. Basically, spam your friends with invites so they’ll join you.

Users voluntarily subject themselves to incentive offers and in-app purchases too.  With every game click comes a new offer:

  • Invite ten friends and win a rare item
  • Gold coins are 20% off for this week only
  • Complete a partner offer for  10 profile points

I’m guilty of it too. I’ve spent countless hours trying to grow my mafia in Mafia Wars, build hotels in Monopoly Millionaires, finding players in Words with Friends and dozens of others.

My question is, with all the efforts we’ve all made to unsubscribe from email marketing lists, being careful not share any personal information online, why are we so eager and less hesitant to share now? So we can have a kick ass virtual farm?