Sometrics launched a site called GameCoins.com in March that allows users to earn virtual currencies in their favorite online games by writing game reviews, completing offers, installing toolbars, and other tasks for third party customers. And now it’s expanding the program to Facebook, allowing any user to exchange their earned “Game Coins” currency for its new site-wide virtual currency, Credits.
Similar ideas have been around for awhile on Facebook, most notably in-game advertising offers — ads from other ad networks, that users would participate in for points in a given app.
But Sometrics has more than 250 publishers outside of Facebook signed up already, with a combined 225 million users it says, and it has gained experience figuring out what services to provide gamers, and connect them to publishers. Chief executive Ian Swanson says that 45% of the site’s users are outside the US, and adds that there are millions of Game Coins in circulation. To help people earn points, and pay out to publishers, Sometrics has cut deals with local and regional advertisers in other parts of the world, or created other ways to earn, he says.
For example, by writing reviews about IMVU on the GameCoins.com site, a user without money but with IMVU expertise could in turn earn currency in the virtual world service. Playdom’s Facebook business building game, Market Street, lets users earn Game Coins by completing its tutorial. “We’re trying to be creative,” with the different ways that people can earn, as Swanson puts it.
All Game Coins, whether earned already or not, can now be converted to Credits. This is in some form a new offers channel. Facebook has been pushing Credits to be the single paid currency on the platform, squeezing out many offer wall providers. It instead directs interested users to earn a carefully pre-selected group of high-quality offers in the main Credits purchase interface, available through a partnership with TrialPay. As we’ve covered elsewhere, many offers have been historically low quality if not outright deceptive. Stung by negative press around them, Facebook has more tightly regulated third-party offers providers, and phased in its own through Credits — and even then only slowly.
What Sometrics is offering today, in other words, is a new way for users to earn who don’t want to pay, in a setting blessed by Facebook and all of the other existing Game Coins partners. It’s the latest expansion of what Facebook calls the “App2User” program, which lets companies with a range of virtual currency products exchange them for Credits. Another member is Chase, the bank, which lets people exchange its reward points for the currency. Other recent examples of Facebook’s Credits earning tests including users being able to check in to stores using a mobile app built by Shopkick, or by checking in or gathering item sets in Booyah’s MyTown.
None of these options are redeemable within the generic Credits purchase interface, and instead can be found on Facebook’s Credits splash page, here. Game Coins should start appearing there as well, shortly, although it doesn’t yet. We expect Facebook to feature these payment partners more prominently in the future.
One note for developers is that Sometrics has revenue relationships with all partners, including Facebook. It makes money from the offers provider partner, whether a game site, an online shopping site, or whatever else. Then it pays out to the publisher, which now includes Facebook. Swanson confirms that the Credits that Sometrics is bringing into the system will count as real Credits not the promotional “free” ones that Facebook has given to users, but not reimbursed developers for. In other words, after Facebook gets paid by Sometrics for the Game Coins exchanged into the system, the developers will get their 70% cut from Facebook.