In-game micro-payments for the greater-good

I’m not sure you’re supposed to hyphenate “greater good” but I was on a roll.

Giverboard is a project by PlayMob that allows game developers to add a charity layer to their games. As Techcrunch reported recently, the platform allows game developers to incorporate virtual goods that represent donations to various charities. In their hypothetical example, a tractor purchase in Farmville could fund a real farm in Africa.

What’s also particularly interesting from a marketing perspective is that brands can play a role in this ecosystem too.  They can sponsor virtual goods for charity as well with matching donations and other similar mechanisms. The underlying idea of Giverboard is that small frequent micro-payments may be a more effective revenue source for charities than large infrequent donations with more friction in the giving transactional process (login, enter credit card number etc.). But going back to brands, if Widgets Inc. sponsors an “End World Hunger” plush toy bear that you can buy to support the cause, that is more often than not a one-off interaction between consumers and the brand. But with small micro-payments for virtual toy bears in-game, the brand gets exposure on each of these more frequent transactions.

Below is a diagram of the user experience from TechCrunch: