My brothers birthday is on the seventh, so I went to shop around for a gift for him over the weekend. I ended up at Target at one point during the adventure, and I walked pasted the pre-paid game cards. I see gift cards for every online service imaginable on that rack, but no SL. Why doesn’t SL have gift cards? I’ve wondered about this many times.
When I first started wondering “Why not?”, I could justify why a gift card could be a problem if it was a direct conversion to L$. But now I don’t see why it couldn’t be a direct account credit. From there a user could pay account fees, or buy L$ on the Lindex. The only justifiable reason I can think of to not work out a gift card setup is because the higher ups don’t consider SL mature enough as a platform. Sure there are problems, but they can be fixed. All things considering, there are three immediate HUGE benefits to issuing gift cards.
The first and most obvious thing is getting the Second Life brand out there. LL seems to be struggling to make SL known, and this is one simple step for almost free nation wide marketing. If consumers see an SL-card on the shelf next to another online game it might garner some interest, especially if you list all the features of being a premium account. You can sell people on the Second Life experience in a box store when people go to pick up a similar or competing service.
The second benefit is ease of use. I hate to say it, but I know some of my residents still have occasional problems paying for Second Life or buying Linden Dollars. No business should have problems accepting money from their customers, it’s inexcusable.
The final obvious benefit is the simple influx of cash. I know a lot of people who would buy them as gifts because they are… gift cards. Being more available and visible would ensure more people spend money on SL for themselves or users of Second Life.
Sure, there will be a bit of overhead for billing to deal with when various gift card issues arise — but if you plan as best you can for it, and do it wisely, it’ll be a great success. You don’t even have to limit it to just flat account credit, maybe even something as simple as monthly, quarterly, and annual premium account memberships. I know you’ve been hankering to get more people on premium, so this is a good solution to that.
p.s. In the end I ordered a gift online for my brother because I have Amazon Prime and it’s free shipping.