Monetization tools that aren't ๐Ÿ’ฉ

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๐Ÿค‘ Top Pics

Articles with the "money mouth" icon are our top picks for solid, fair, reliable monetization options. These are the methods, tools and practices we recommend you use to monetize your project. So how do we choose them?

Each of these methods can meet the following conditions

Obviously if you try hard enough you can make anything problematic. These are simply tools, practices and methods that are easier to do simply, open, clearly and fairly than they are to compound, obscure, manipulate or exploit.

  • Simple Product This means there is no gimmick, no trade-in, exchange rate, collect X or match Y it is simply a product.

  • Open Description This means the user knows exactly in detail what it is they are considering before purchasing. It's not a random chance, it's not a "surprise mechanic" it is a clearly labelled product which can be expected to do/be what it says on the tin.

  • Clear Pricing This means the user can clearly understand what the real cost is, in the real currency they use e.g. not obscured behind premium currency or other such obfuscation methods.

  • Has a Fair "Max Spend" This means a user cannot spend more than X amount and that amount is easily seen and understood by the end user.


๐Ÿค” Risky

Articles with the ๐Ÿค” "thinking" icon describe risky practices and tools. By risky we mean it's possible to use them in a fair and reasoned way but they can also be abused to yield a predatory monetization scheme. It's important to understand that most predatory practices aren't (usually) predatory out of malice, it's simply easier than you might think to be a problem so we try to help you think more effectively and hopefully avoid becoming part of the problem.

Looking for outside research sources on what not to do?

Check out the links below

EU Parliament Loot Boxes Effect on Consumers
Insert Coin: How the gaming industry exploits consumers using loot boxes

๐Ÿ˜ก Predatory

Articles with the ๐Ÿ˜ก "rage face" emoji describe predatory tools and practices and are for informational purposes. we do not recommend or condone them obviously and we outline why in each article.

What makes a thing predatory?

Put simply a manipulation or exploitation to result in greater gain at the expense or harm of the consumer.

If you use any method other than open and honest portrayal of your product and the real value it provides to your user then you are being manipulative.

If you are using emotional or mental triggers or habit programming techniques such as seen in gatcha systems or slot machines then you are being exploitative.

These manipulative and exploitative practices are permitted in highly regulated settings such as the gambling industry where the risk/reward is the nature of the industry and protections are in place for consumers. In the world of marketing however where regulation is limited, and minors and vulnerable persons are exposed, then this is the definition of predatory.

Isn't all marketing manipulative?

No and the fact you might think so shows the troubled state we are in. Ideally marketing shows you using honest and accurate examples of why the thing you want to buy is so great. There are various laws and regulations that are designed to "keep marketing honest" however government regulations are rarely able to keep up with predators ... I mean marketing firms ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

Modern marketing, sadly, has discovered that negative drivers are stronger (in the short term) ... for example fear. Fear has become the primary marketing tool for the past 20 years. While this is manipulative, typically uses false claims, hides factual statements and runs afoul of various common regulatory protections the methods used in modern marketing are structured such to "skirt" or avoid the exact definitions used in the regulations thus avoiding those regulations until of course they cause so much harm that consumers (voters) scream loud enough for politicians to take note. Politicians always make good and reasoned decisions for the benefit of all involved๐Ÿคฃ .

Hence EA telling the UK that ... loot boxes aren't gambling its surprise mechanics ๐Ÿคชnever mind that surprise mechanics are the literal definition of a game of chance and when a real value wager initiates that game of chance that is the definition of gambling in most regions.

What's the difference?

Predatory vs non-Predatory

The difference is the impact on the user. When a user is shown the value of an item and purchases that item from a position of understanding, out of desire for it, the user is positively effected. Satisfaction with the purchase is neutral or ideally high and the purchase was made reasonably that is to say the user did not over extend them selves or cause other financial or social harm.

When a user is "tricked" into a purchase either through fear mechanics such as the "Fear of Missing Out" method that has been very popular since 2010. Or through failed promise mechanics as you would see in gambling systems such as gatcha and surprise mechanics the result is a negative effect on the user. Users are far more likely to make the purchase even if it causes harm financially and or socially and users are more likely to regret the purchase.

Tragically the damage to the consumer doesn't stop there. The young and vulnerable persons are highly susceptible to these practices and the damage caused to them is far more severe. Numerous studies detailing the damage of gambling on children and vulnerable persons have been published for decades. The cause of the damage is not the window dressing but the mechanics and the emotional and mental effects them selves. These mechanics being present outside tightly regulated gambling industry ... such as being introduced in marketing, video games and social media has had a significant negative impact.

Not illegal? why should I care?

First, it is illegal in some regions and the number of regulated regions is growing. This idea that "not my problem" is exactly why we are seeing such an effort from regulatory bodies to investigate and regulate our industry. This attitude has caused notable harm to the public and our industry and the cost of that harm is increasing.

While I hope to appeal to the humanity of indie developers with these articles and encourage consumer friendly monetization practices. If you lack a since of humanity I can demonstrate how these negative actions will yield lower profits for you going forward and how a shift toward consumer friendly practices is the new game to play.

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