Facebook is testing a new payment option to encourage people to invest in Facebook Credits. The social networking giant is testing a "pay later" option on some games, Inside Facebook is reporting. Facebook has already negotiated with the top social game designers (like Zynga) to make Facebook credits the exclusive form of currency on the site. Apparently, the biggest barrier to users spending money was getting them to enter their payment information on the spot. That's where Pay Later comes in.
Users will be prompted to let Facebook bill them for the unpaid credits later. If they proceed, their account will show a negative credit balance with a link to "repay". An email will also be sent with a link to repay the credits. Users are not required to settle up before buying more content with Pay Later. It is unclear is Facebook will set a limit on Pay Later transactions.
We're not sure any of this is a good idea. Some users have a tendency to drop large sums of cash on social games. Letting them run up debts on Facebook could be trouble. What happens if people don't pay? Does Facebook hire some guys to "explain the situation"?
There have been instances of small bars and restaurants giving discounts to the Foursquare user with the most visits to the establishments (called the Mayor in Foursquare jargon). This, however, is the first real example of a national business offering discounts on such a scale. Starting now, and running through June 28th, the mayor of any particular Starbucks location will get a $1 discount on a Frappucino there.
Starbucks seems to have embraced the social game where users check-in as they go about their business, racking up points and getting badges for completing achievements. The coffee chain previously created a "Barista badge" for Foursquare users. This promotion isn't interesting because it's such a great deal, but because it shows companies are beginning to see the advantages these social games can have in marketing.
Are you a Foursquare user? If so, what sort of product tie-ins do you think would work?
Social networking colossus MySpace has launched a Pan-Asian game development contest. Developers from China, India, Japan and Korea will square off against each other to develop the best social game. The contest stipulates that developers be legal residents of one of the four countries mentioned above and above the age of 18 years. And no development team should have more than three members. The contest will culminate at the Tokyo Game Show and the winning social game will be plastered all over MySpace after being translated into English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese, besides that, cash and other prizes will be up for grabs. Registrations are open right now.