Friday, June 27, 2008

I'd Buy That for a Dollar!

Based on what I've read, micropayments are beating out time-based subscriptions when it comes to effectively separating virtual world patrons from their money.

Is this because people prefer to pay via micropayments, even though a site that features them typically costs the user more, overall?

I believe the biggest hurdle in getting a person to pay real money for any sort of online service is that first payment. The smaller the request, the more likely somebody will bite, and once that credit card is on file (and the first transaction proved worthwhile) subsequent transactions come much more easily, with less concern on the part of the customer.

Is the subscription model less effective than micropayments...probably. Why? Because the initial cost for even a month (ourWorld's premium membership costs $6.99/month) is more than the minimum cost for many micropayment sites. What if there was a trial that players could purchase for $1? What if a promise of no additional charges was made, and kept?

Would it be worth the transaction costs of the 'trial' to get that customer's credit card on file? How much more likely would a customer be to subscribe after a successful and valuable $1 transaction? (Hint: A lot.)

Edit: In order for the $1 option to work, upgrading to a full subscription must be hyper-easy. Single click easy. Otherwise, much of the hurdle for subscription remains.


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