Facebook Users are Spending Millions on Virtual Gifts

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  • Published on : Dec 21 2007

Millions of people log onto FaceBook every day. Of the several millions, many browse through friends profiles for hours upon hours a day, while others play with applications and leave comments on their friends walls. Is anyone really making money off FaceBook and this type of behavior from their social network users? Of course! FaceBook is just the reincarnation of MySpace with more funding, a better infrastructure, less trashy and probably a lot more profitable. If you didn’t cash in on MySpace, then this is just another opportunity. Microsoft isn’t stupid, they they just recently made a $240 million equity stake in Facebook during its next round of financing, valuing the company at a whopping $15 billion. However, this post isn’t about the valuation of FaceBook, nor Microsoft partnerships… it’s about how to make more out of something that is already there.

When you first join FaceBook, you receive a “Free Virtual Gift“, which is really just a virtual image that you can send to a friend. You only get one… but you can buy and send more for
$1 each. I rarely use FaceBook, and the idea of paying a dollar to send an image to a friend seems kind of ridiculous… why not just copy, save and email it? Simply because users want other users to see they were the ones to send or receive these virtual gifts, and even more so that the value of a gift in thought and intention is worth more than the small dollar to send it. So just how many users have sent one of these virtual gifts? According to CNN, “Since they (virtual gifts) were introduced in February, Facebook says its users have purchased more than 24 million of these dollar items, which are sold in limited editions to generate more interest“. Such a small and simple idea has generated an amazing amount of money… and you know FaceBook is going to monetize the heck out of it! I just logged in today and one of the first things I saw was them pushing their Holiday Virtual Gifts. How many of these are going to be sent out this month?

As a FaceBook member, you can even browse through their virtual gifts store, where they have have 380 different gifts you can send. This has been such a hit with the social network that you can even sort by “Bestselling”, “Newest”, “Selling Out” and “Most Rare”. By offering the categories of “Selling Out” and “Most Rare“, you can be sure this will entice collect and send even more virtual gifts, as they are in limited supply.

Social networks have been around for a couple of years now and they just keep getting hotter. The “Virtual Gifts” feature is owned and run by FaceBook, however thousands of developers, web designers and more are finding new ways to make money off social networks. Some profitable methods have been creating new applications to run with these networks or creating sites with images or layouts or place on profile pages. As MySpace, YouTube and FaceBook continue to grow, so should your money making opportunities. Are you going to be one of the millions of “social network users making other people money“… or one of the few “people making money off social network users“? I know where I’ll be!

Zac Johnson
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
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  • http://www.jimkukral.com Jim Kukral

    Wow, I had no idea that that was "real" money. I always assumed it was just funny money or something. So, how does everyone get in on the action Zac? Possible to build an application with better, more funner icons to send?

  • http://internetmarketingsucks.com Sucker

    We thought the virtual gift thing was stupid, too. We started a group, I think it was "I will not pay $1 for a virtual gift."

    For the first month FB donated the gift revenue to charity, which was alright. But after that, it was pure profit for them for nothing, with some people surely thinking the money was still going to charity… so we had to rally against it!

  • http://talkdots.com Domain Name Help

    Zac, have you worked any of these into your myspace sites somehow? I know there are a good amount of people monitizing facebook but it seems like they are all mostly developers who can actually code their own apps/widgets. Makes it hard for us little publishers that just have content sites heheh.

  • Marc

    MORONS, all of them. Social Networks are for noobs.

    • Tevin Anderson

      Huh!? For marketing noobs? Or the people that use them… Care to elaborate?

  • Affiliate Unleashed

    Zac,

    Love your blog. It has some great stuff on it!

    It's amazing that a simple $1 dollar "gift" could be so profitable… That's $24 million in 100% profit. Hahaha. I love it.

  • http://www.gowfb.com/Bedroom-Furniture-c-2.php?cPath=2 Online furniture sto

    Fabulous idea! If you're a bit of a fool that is. And there are roughly 24 million fools out there?!! ;)

  • Marc

    @Affiliate Unleashed "100% profit"??? Riiiight………becuase illustrators create those things for free, and the programmers write the interface for free, and the processing power from intel and the likes is all free as well. Im sure the "profit margin" is big, but not 100% profit.

    You know what you should do Zack……….have a competition "Create the dumbest facebook application you can think of, and make people pay money for it". You could have people submit their ideas on one post, then people could vote on the next post, then you can challenge a group of programmers/designers to key it up. Only one rule, "you must charge people" for its use.

    I have one Im brewing up right now…………….! Lame as hell, and morons would flock to it like rabbits in a headlight.

  • http://www.ericmitz.com/experiment $1000 Affiliate Experiment

    Zac, Have you ever entered into the Facebook application arena? Iv been thinking about it lately, but just can’t seem to come up with that “golden” idea for one.

  • http://www.cantgetrich.com Can't Get Rich

    I've been a member of facebook for a long time (I joined back when it was thefacebook). When they introduced those $1 image gifts, I had a little chuckle and mentally tipped my hat to whoever thought that one up, because I knew morons with disposable income (or their parents' credit cards) would buy them. To the compulsive collector, those things are like premium crack cocaine.

    I know a couple who swears they barely have enough money for food, yet they buy a few Facebook gifts for each other each week. It's pretty sad.

  • http://www.infektia.net Malin

    I can't understand how people can buy those gifts! I'm always amazed about how many morons there is in this world :P

  • http://www.gowfb.com/Bedroom-Furniture-c-2.php?cPath=2 Online furniture sto

    I am quite reassured that everyone here agrees that this is a really dumb way to spend money, I was wondering that if so many people are buying this 'gift' then i must be in a minority to think it's stupid.

  • Marc

    @Online Furniture Store

    Spot on, we are so the minority. However, we have an advantage. Continue to be that minority and plunder off of the majority. If they will pay $1 for that, imagine what else they waste their money on.

  • Mike Huang

    Wow…talk about milking the cow!

    …and I don’t mean John Cow :)

    -Mike

  • http://www.affiliateconfession.com/ Affiliate Confession

    I'm sorry man, paying $1 to send a stupid image is just lame!

  • http://www.articlesmodern.com/ tarawat

    Wow great idea,that a simple $1 dollar “gift” could be so profitable That’s $24 million in 100% profit.:D

    Merry x'mas

  • http://www.myboxingfans.com Edgar

    Hey Zac, Are you still using Ask.com as one of your money makers?

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      Off topic… but not, they are holding my balance till $250 is accumulated. I wouldn’t recommend the Ask.com MediaJump managed program. I’m sure I won’t be paid by them.

  • http://www.technomoney.net/ Ruchir

    Wow, I never knew FB are making a killing with the $1 gifts.

  • http://www.FollowSteph.com Stephane Grenier

    Wow! All I can say is wow. Smart idea.

    The key though is that they executed on the idea, even though I'm sure many people pushed against it. They had the guts to push it through.

  • Cash Dominator – Ins

    This is kinda ridiculous that people spend money on things like this… but it's a great money making opportunity for internet marketers like us.

  • http://zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

    Despite all the comments and legalities, people are buying tickets for $24,000+ off StubHub…
    http://money.cnn.com/2007/12/28/commentary/sports

  • http://profile.to/gboucher/ gare bou

    how can i make a link to sell something on facebook without getting caught….lol

    • Marc

      Getting caught? They support it http://developers.facebook.com/

      And, they are in beta for their own PayPal like system right now.

      • http://profile.to/gboucher/ gare bou

        thanks very much marc

  • http://www.nextstephalo.com David Savage

    That's crazy to think something so innocent and simple could make the company such an amazing profit. Kudos to Facebook .

  • Naruto Shippuden

    And here i thought facebook was only making money by advertisements

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  • tyler

    youve gotta be a fawking idiot to buy a small picture to someone…epic fail at life….24 million dumbshits out there…. instead use that one dollar on something better like umm i dont know…some common sense.

  • http://controversialmarketing.blogspot.com Sam Freedoms Interne

    I first saw this in the "plentyoffish.com" personals site where you earned credits for logging in each day and you could spend them to send little gifts to prospective fish, I mean, dates.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dirk-Margheim/853294869 Dirk

    Why all the venom towards virtual gifts buyers? While I have not personally ever purchased one, I don't see it as any big deal. I'm sure most of us waste a few dollars every week on equally ridiculous things. How may of you have the 99 cent iFart app on your iPhone?

    Why would you purchase flowers that are dead in a week for your wife? Why would you spend money on a greeting card when you could just write a note on scratch paper? Why would you pay for your buddy's lunch when you could just lean over and say, "I appreciate you, man."

    Gift-giving is about finding out of the ordinary ways to express our appreciation to the special folks in our lives.

    Virtual gifts qualify for a few reasons…

    1. It is convenient.

    2. It is new and different.

    3. It is relatively cheap compared to traditional gifts or cards.

    4. I know my Facebook friends WILL see it.

    5. I know my Facebook friends will understand the gesture.

    If you agree, you can friend-request me on FB and buy me a virtual gift!

  • Anthony

    If people buying pictures for a $1 this simply mean I should reconsider that affiliate advertiser who selling stars…

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  • http://www.greenteadesign.com/contemporary-coffee-tables.html coffee tables

    I remember these gifts on FB!

  • Jenny

    Yeah, but there are loads of alternatives that are better. I've started using Giftorama.net (http://apps.facebook.com/giftorama/) which I love. It's only smal but it has paid-for and free gifts…and it suits me…

  • http://photothot.net Game

    Yeah thats right,but is Facebook still using those virtual gifts?