Sharing = Gifting. The killer app for microtransactions is social.
by phil on Tuesday Apr 13, 2010 1:57 AM
One of the first things I did with my iPad was purchase a book to read on the Kindle app. I bought Rework for myself, but I actually really wanted a co-worker to read it. Then I discovered that there's no way for me to buy him the Kindle edition!
Similarly, I was checking out some random band on Bandcamp, and there's two options, "Buy" and "Share." But under "Share" you can only tell someone to go and buy an album. There's no way to just buy the album for someone.
I feel that I'm more willing to spend money on microtransactions for other people than myself. I'm more willing to gift an album than buy it myself, simply because I'm more likely to just pirate it if I really want it. If I tell a friend, "Hey, this is a good album, go pirate it," they won't. But if I just buy it for them on lala, then there's a much better chance they'll listen to it.
Why can't I gift you 1,000,000 gold coins on Bejeweled Blitz on facebook? Why can't I gift you apps on iTunes (yet).
Gifting digital goods gives you so much instant gratification that it's worth the rigmarole to pull out your credit card (or remember your favored clearinghouse's password).
(By "clearinghouse," I'm referring to places you trust with your saved credit cards, such as Amazon, facebook, or iTunes. Their entrenchment was the first step toward a microtransaction future.)