OfferPal – the social media advertising and monetization company that allows users to gain virtual currency by participating in offers, surveys and more – has announced a new method of monetization: Tasks. Specifically, they are utilizing Amazon’s Mechanical Turk artificial intelligence system to source the tasks. Amazon’s MT system enables people to do small tasks that can’t be completed by computers themselves, and the broker of the transaction (here, Offerpal), receives a bit of compensation for the task.
Specifically, users that engage with Offerpal will now see an option to use Offerpal Tasks, which will present them the option of signing in with their Amazon login. The method here, which is evidenced by the screenshots, is that users will gain real-money through their selection of Amazon’s “‘Human Intelligence Tasks”, and they will then be shown the option of converting that real money into virtual currency (as shown in the second screenshot). Sample tasks include “include rating search results, categorizing web sites or articles, and answering questions”.
There have been moves like this before. Specifically, Gambit announced this functionality last year, and the functionality is very much the same. Gambit emphasized that the tasks are activities that are “hard for software to master, but extremely easy for humans – especially social game-playing, Internet-savvy humans who are incentivized by the prospect of earning your virtual currency.”
Offerpal was one of the first players to monetize the social gaming scene, by providing offers to social game publishers who could then incent users to gain in-game currency by completing surveys and offers through Offerpal. The practice was extremely successful on early games like Mob Wars and Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, and the competitors arose. Zynga was a big user of Offerpal, while Playfish used TrialPay. Zynga’s Mark Pincus reported that 33% of revenues came from offers, and the market was rosy until Facebook added strict guidelines to the ad guidelines for these offers.
Offerpal had to fight a lot of controversy late last year regarding the potential scams within the offer stratosphere, and after a public confrontation with Mike Arrington, Offerpal’s CEO Anu Shukla was replaced with George Garrick, with Shukla staying on to continue (as she is the majority stakeholder). The company has been making a steady stream of interesting product announcements since, and seems to have steadied out.