Your help needed – what’s wrong with this idea?

The question is, why won’t this business plan work?

Obviously, people don’t like it, don’t want to do it, play. It’s not marketed properly, it’s terrible.

But on a technical level, is there anything here that doesn’t work?

The basic is pretty simple. People like playing simple games on mobiles and the internet. They like complicated ones too, but simple still gains traffic. Solitaire (and this basic idea can be extended to more complex, and Sudoku etc).

Newspaper traditionally had a games section. Different games, given the technology but still. Modern day, disintermediation. The games are now off here, away from the newspaper. However, an underlying thought is that the most difficult thing these days is to gain an audience. That’s what costs the money in any web adventure.

So, if you’ve got one audience, sell them something else. Equally, if you’re seeking an audience try to sell them many things.

We have Continental Telegraph. That’s a newspaper manqué. Why shouldn’t it have a games section?

But what would be the attraction?

What’s the big thing out there. Might be as dumb as a sack of rocks but it’s a big thing. Crytpocurrency.

Hmm, so, invent a currency (an ERC 20 token might cost $100 to make). Give it away as the prize for winning the solitaire games.

Hmm, that might gain traffic.

To play the game you’ve got to see the ad (as with mindjolt). Also, the game page shows a few headlines from Contins at the bottom of the page, might gain traffic.

Consumer gets to gain free crypto by playing game.
Producer gets ad revenue by giving away free crypto.

Easy to get this up on a web page, not that much more difficult to make it a an app for iOS and Android.

So, where’s the error. What’s being missed?

A few simple versions of solitaire shouldn’t be that difficult to find. Need a wallet for the ERC token. A system of counting winnings and issuing them as ContinCoin. Dual OS app and webpage. Not the worst of technical tasks.

So, what’s the bit being missed?

23 comments on “Your help needed – what’s wrong with this idea?

  1. I was told years ago that the danger of adding an ‘arcade’ to a forum I was building was that the punters would go straight to the arcade and bypass the forum content…

  2. What’s missing is anything you can buy with the cryptocurrency.

    Also, possibly the need for a banking license on your part (we had a leftie here a few years ago who reinvented banking with “tokens” or some such, if you remember, and claimed they weren’t money.

    And what is the market penetration of CT anyway? I don’t see it as a news site, it’s rather an opinion site.

    I know someone who ran a pretty big online arcade but gave up about 5 years ago as it was no longer making money. If you’re going to be handing out prizes of any value you aren’t going to make any money either.

  3. I can’t imagine the sophisticated audience who read CT having their interest piqued by something as mindless as Solitaire. If you were running Breitbart, it would be a very different matter.

  4. Might depend a lot on the age of your average reader. I may be wrong, but I suspect your current demographics ain’t the kids. Do many older people care about games?

  5. To reiterate. It’s not business reasons I’m thinking of here. Technical ones. Is there any step in that process which we’re not allowed to do?

  6. “However, an underlying thought is that the most difficult thing these days is to gain an audience.”

    No, it’s to connect to an audience that wants to buy your product. It’s the age-old market information problem of connecting the people who want a product to the people who are selling the product. That takes research, which means effort, which means there is a service to offer in saving people the effort.

    Can you find new/unknown products your audience would probably like better than they can? Can you sort the decent products from the trash and rip-offs? Can you provide a better search/index to enable people to connect their problems to products? How does what you offer help your audience, that they can’t get cheaper elsewhere?

    What on Earth gives you the idea that your CT audence are in desperate need of a solitaire game, that they can’t find with Google? (Now, if you offered a customisable Whack-a-Mole game with a selection of politically-incorrect targets, that might be more suited to your market…)

    “So, if you’ve got one audience, sell them something else.”

    If it’s something the audience wants, that can work. If it’s not, you can wind up driving your existing audience away. See, for example, intrusive adverts on web-pages and the rise of the ad-blockers.

    “What’s the big thing out there. Might be as dumb as a sack of rocks but it’s a big thing. Cryptocurrency.”

    Cryptocurrencies are a means to an end. What’s the end you’re offering?

    What backs your currency? You can either base it on the provision of a valuable transaction-enabling service through the properties of the cryptocurrency implementation itself – like convenience, portability, anonymity, security, insurance, credit, etc. – or it has to be redeemable at the end of the chain for some concrete good or service. It’s not magic. It’s not a pyramid scheme. Someone has got to offer something of genuine value if it is to have any value.

    ‘Money’ is a credible, enforcible promise to deliver something of real value at a later date. (A cryptocurrency is simply a way to securely record those promises in electronic form.) What are you promising?

  7. I don’t do the crossword in a newspaper to win anything, I do it to pass the time while waiting for the kettle to boil, or while having a cup of tea. Just as I’m commenting here while having a cup of tea.

  8. Dear God will people try to understand the question being asked?

    Are there any technical – not business related – reasons why this cannot be done?

  9. “Are there any technical – not business related – reasons why this cannot be done?”

    No. Write a solitaire game (with due respect to IP), put somewhere people can download. Have it charge fees to PayPal/credit card numbers (with due respect to security/fraud requirements), only offer prizes in ‘Worstall Dollars’, which aren’t worth anything apart from ‘bragging rights’. Technically, it’s trivial. Business-wise, well, if you can sell that idea, you’ve got a talent for sales that can probably make you a lot more money elsewhere…

  10. Technically, each of the individual components of your scheme is doable. Evidence: they have all been done before somewhere.

    The difficulty comes from the need for extra security from users and site once money changes hands. You will need a tough user system with – preferably – two stage verification and an unhackable webserver to run it on.

    The business questions are whether and how to integrate such a system in an existing relaxed site such as CT… Just the cryptocurrency part will be a whiteknuckle ride (values, that is).

  11. Or you could just provide a link to someone who already does it, and charge a small fee for referrals…

    Oh, hang on. People already do that, don’t they?

  12. Tim –

    To answer your question… I see no purely technical problem that would doom the plan.

  13. @Tim W

    You could offer prizes of 0.x Bit/Litecoin for playing and winning game fastest.

    Game containing app that mines coin on their PC -a variation on Minesweeper maybe?

    Winner wins, you win too

    mining hidden in T&C Para 69 Section 13

  14. This falls between technical and business/financial but sending a ‘winner’ some tokens would cost around 2-3 cents currently on the ETH network,

    I have no idea what your ad revenue is, but last time I was involved in something similar each display ad generated significantly less than 1 cent, so the win/play ratio would pretty critical

  15. Solitaire may require a gambling license if rewards of value are offered. If people aren’t paying to play then it might not be included, but worth checking.

  16. Technical reason why you couldn’t offer games? No.

    “But what would be the attraction?

    What’s the big thing out there. Might be as dumb as a sack of rocks but it’s a big thing. Crytpocurrency.”

    Exactly. But what CC are you going to offer and how are you going to get it? Pay for it? Start a new one? The former’ll be expensive, the latter pointless unless there’s someone who will accept it in trade, even if only for another currency.

    Do some competitive games and publish the results as a leaderboard. Even Multi-player if possible. Something for the commenters to wag on about in the comments sections of the less popular (or last article of the day) articles.

  17. “Exactly. But what CC are you going to offer and how are you going to get it? Pay for it? Start a new one? The former’ll be expensive”

    That was all explained in the post. It’ll be a new token running on the Ethereum network. It costs basically nothing. If you know what you’re doing it takes maybe 30 mins

  18. The major technical obstacle that I can see is security. User authentication is a hard problem. Secure information storage is a hard problem. The only reason we don’t see more breaches is that there’s no incentive to crack most sites. Keeping ContiCoin balances creates an incentive.

  19. Agree with the transnational cost and security issues.

    Although the core elements of DLT are highly robust maintaining peripheral security around access etc is not and, for a potentially high propaganda value target, something you may have to handle well above the normal commercial balance for such gaming operations.

    Where and how you offer such rewards, both in terms of natinal presence but also extra territorial reach also matters on regulatory compliance plus you will also be sitting on more personal data and hence have GDRP to worry about.

    Again depending on where , as you enter more complex UIs you have some issues around improving accessibility (WCAG 2.0 etc) though doubt you’d face it and not too much of an issue for a well rounded developer but just worth considering.

  20. Another non-technical but technical reason is that a whole lot of punters out there don’t understand anything about what a cryptocurrency is, nor what they would do with one.

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