Amazon announced their new virtual currency, to be called Amazon Coins earlier today. Coins can be used to purchase apps, games and in-app items for Kindle Fire. They also pledge to give away “tens of millions” worth of the coins starting in May when the new service/product launches. See Introducing Amazon Coins.
I think it is smart for Amazon to provide another way to ease the purchase of content in the Kindle Fire ecosystem. Also, I imagine that they will give Coins away with purchases of Kindles and probably with lots of other goods, too. It will be interesting to see where Amazon ultimately goes with this, but here are some of my initial ideas.
Fire Halo Effect
I could see a small kick-back on purchases whether you have a Kindle or not. Soon enough, you’re going to want to have a Kindle so that you can cash in all of your earned Coins. Could be a serious draw for the ecosystem. I know that I spend a fair amount annually with Amazon. If they give me a small percent of credit toward virtual goods on their platform, it could make that seem more attractive.
Coins Aren’t Real Money
I also believe that they will make it easy to buy Amazon Coins or give them as gifts or in-app incentives. Once real money is translated to Coins, Amazon wins! You will spend it at Amazon on virtual goods giving Amazon an easy 30% commission. Also, you’re likely to have some residual coins drawing you back to add or earn some more. Finally, it seems much easier to spend virtual credits than real dollars and cents.
Could it also be a way to create more loyalty to their virtual goods over time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon Coins accepted for Kindle Books or AmazonMP3 to be read and played on other devices, like Android phones and tablets or Apple iDevices. Could be a great way to create lock-in for their virtual marketplace. This would build loyalty toward their marketplace and not just the Fire device portfolio. Amazon’s devices have been created to support their “Long Tail” marketplace, not the other way around.
Drop Some Coin for Anything
Another obvious extension of this would be to allow Coins as payment for all kinds of goods. Want something shipped to your house? Amazon Coins could be a great way to get me to choose Amazon for real-world goods also.
What Did Facebook Miss?
Before I close, it’s worth noting that Facebook failed in their attempt to create a virtual currency for their apps and games. They ultimately abandoned Facebook Credits and just returned to national currencies. This may partly explain why Amazon has defined Coins narrowly for now and will offer only in the USA market at launch.
I wish them luck and can’t wait to see how this develops. Any other ideas or thoughts? Comment below!
This post is an inauguration. The Presidential Inauguration isn’t until tomorrow, and it’s a big deal. President Obama will officially start his second term as POTUSA. Today, I’m ceremoniously entering the blogosphere, the Technorati, and potentially the forum of verbose windbags. This inaugural address is a big deal for me. I’ll try to keep it meaningful, but I hope you will forgive occasional ramblings or musings that don’t move your thoughts to new heights. I always enjoy starting out. I remember my first friend on Facebook and posting my first picture to Instagram only moments after hearing about it. Creating my first interest page on Evemi was a rush for me. Inaugurations are fun!
It seems appropriate to acknowledge the why, what, and how of this thing that is to become my blog space. I’m starting now because I’ve been challenged by a friend, so that’s “why”. I appreciate that peer pressure can make us better humans. It just did that for me. So, how will writing into a blog make me better? I can’t be fully sure, but I hope to explore some ideas, expand my community of thought, and to push myself toward other firsts. I’ve listed some interests on my ABOUT page, and surely some of the “what” will relate to those topics.
I believe strongly that our minds are not fixed in capacity (recent science backs me up), and I aspire to continuously learn and grow, to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” in the immortal words of Steve Jobs from his Stanford University commencement address of 2005. So, even though I know that I have limited time and resource to bring, I will let other pursuits languish and do my best to blog-about as I find myself with something to say or to at least question and explore.
Which brings me to my last point. I want to pioneer. It’s a part of me. I have had the pleasure of pioneering and innovating many things in my work in the the new mobile economy and I plan to continue. There are always opportunities before us to explore, analyze, study, find the gaps, connect the dots, or just do. I hope that this blog becomes a way for me to share some of my efforts toward redefining mobility and customer experience. I also hope that I will find others that will join me and explore alongside. That’s the “how”.
Let’s get started, shall we?