You should follow me for tweets mostly about human rights, complex societies, law and technology. Grad Student (MAHuman Rights @ UCL). Mefite, Readmill addict
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Gun Control Disappearing from the News Media

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gun control stories week

Once the Senate gun control bill died in April, so did the story.

That is Danny Hayes, over at Wonkblog.

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alasdairrss
3268 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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F2P Monetization Tricks

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This is a really interesting article about something I never even thought about before: how games ("F2P" means "free to play") trick players into paying for stuff.

For example:

This is my favorite coercive monetization technique, because it is just so powerful. The technique involves giving the player some really huge reward, that makes them really happy, and then threatening to take it away if they do not spend. Research has shown that humans like getting rewards, but they hate losing what they already have much more than they value the same item as a reward. To be effective with this technique, you have to tell the player they have earned something, and then later tell them that they did not. The longer you allow the player to have the reward before you take it away, the more powerful is the effect.

This technique is used masterfully in Puzzle and Dragons. In that game the play primarily centers around completing "dungeons." To the consumer, a dungeon appears to be a skill challenge, and initially it is. Of course once the customer has had enough time to get comfortable with the idea that this is a skill game the difficulty goes way up and it becomes a money game. What is particularly effective here is that the player has to go through several waves of battles in a dungeon, with rewards given after each wave. The last wave is a "boss battle" where the difficulty becomes massive and if the player is in the recommended dungeon for them then they typically fail here. They are then told that all of the rewards from the previous waves are going to be lost, in addition to the stamina used to enter the dungeon (this can be 4 or more real hours of time worth of stamina).

At this point the user must choose to either spend about $1 or lose their rewards, lose their stamina (which they could get back for another $1), and lose their progress. To the brain this is not just a loss of time. If I spend an hour writing a paper and then something happens and my writing gets erased, this is much more painful to me than the loss of an hour. The same type of achievement loss is in effect here. Note that in this model the player could be defeated multiple times in the boss battle and in getting to the boss battle, thus spending several dollars per dungeon.

This technique alone is effective enough to make consumers of any developmental level spend. Just to be safe, PaD uses the same technique at the end of each dungeon again in the form of an inventory cap. The player is given a number of "eggs" as rewards, the contents of which have to be held in inventory. If your small inventory space is exceeded, again those eggs are taken from you unless you spend to increase your inventory space. Brilliant!

It really is a piece about security. These games use all sorts of mental tricks to coerce money from people who would not have spent it otherwise. Tricks include misdirection, sunk costs, withholding information, cognitive dissonance, and prospect theory.

I am reminded of the cognitive tricks scammers use. And, of course, much of the psychology of security.

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alasdairrss
3270 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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musafurber
3271 days ago
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How free to play monetization tricks trick you into paying for stuff in#security
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Kuwait's booming Instagram economy

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In Kuwait, people sell all sorts of stuff on Instagram, using the service as a visually oriented mobile storefront instead of using a web site or something like eBay. From an interview with artist/musician Fatima Al Qadiri:

BR: Kuwait is a crazy mix: a super-affluent country, yet basically a welfare state, though with a super neo-liberal consumer economy.

FQ: We consume vast amounts of everything. Instagram businesses are a big thing in Kuwait.

BR: What's an Instagram business?

FQ: If you have an Instagram account, you can slap a price tag on anything, take a picture of it, and sell it. For instance, you could take this can of San Pellegrino, paint it pink, put a heart on it, call it yours, and declare it for sale. Even my grandmother has an Instagram business! She sells dried fruit. A friend's cousin is selling weird potted plants that use Astroturf. People are creating, you know, hacked products.

I dug up a few examples: Manga Box is an Instagram storefront selling manga (contact via WhatsApp to buy), Sondos Makeup advertises makeup services (WhatsApp for appts.), sheeps_sell sells sheep, and store & more is an account selling women's fashion items. There was even an Insta-Business Expo held in April about Instagram businesses.

The Entrepreneurship and Business Club of the American University of Kuwait is holding an "INSTA BUSINESS EXPO" which will consist of all your favorite and newest popular entrepreneurs that grew their businesses through Instagram. Not only that, there will be guest speakers by Entrepreneurs that made it through Instagram as well!

(via @cmchap)

Tags: business   Fatima Al Qadiri   Instagram   interviews   Kuwait
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alasdairrss
3270 days ago
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steingart
3271 days ago
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sort of fantastic. also: kottke is on fire these days
Princeton, NJ

Aladdin’s newsfeed was full of all his friends’...

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Aladdin’s newsfeed was full of all his friends’ stories of their job acquisitions, wild nights out in Agrabah, and all other pieces of evidence that they were winning at this whole “life” thing. And while Aladdin might have been broke, homeless, and without any marketable skills, his inordinate amount of free time had allowed him to discover that Oreos and Doritos tasted incredible together, so, yeah—he was pretty much nailin’ it.

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alasdairrss
3296 days ago
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REFLECTIONS ON WOOLWICH

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1 It was a mad, barbarous attack, more akin to a particularly savage form of street violence than to a politically motivated act. What was striking about the incident was not just its depravity but the desire of the murderers for that depravity to be captured on film. This was narcissistic horror, an attempt to […]
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alasdairrss
3321 days ago
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Puts my thoughts on the woolich murder into words better than I could manage myself.
London, United Kingdom
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Why UK government IT sucks so hard

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Here's a very short and snappy explanation for why so much of the UK's government IT infrastructure is so fantastically, awfully bad: it's an RFP from a Northern Irish government business development fund for a "Content Management System to manage all Invest NI websites and intranets." Here's how they express their priorities:

IV.2.1)Award criteria
The most economically advantageous tender in terms of

1. Price. Weighting 95

2. Quality. Weighting 5

This is for a 523 000 GBP contract, by the way.

Invest NI wishes to appoint a suitably qualified service provider to install, configure, maintain and support a Content Management System to manage all Invest NI websites and intranets... (Thanks, Angie!)

    


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alasdairrss
3321 days ago
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A perfect little factoid on boingboing
London, United Kingdom
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