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Well, the second beta has been up for a couple of weeks, long enough to begin to draw some conclusions about what is working and what isn’t. The most positive thing is that the new system does in fact prevent the rampant inflation that so plagued the first beta. The biggest problem, however, may be a direct result of that new system. There seems to be less interest in the trading experience this time around, and I think that it is a result of the the fact that the game aspect of the site is harder than it was before. In general, it’s hard to make money, and not terribly difficult to blow all of your thollars in one high spirited user session. I have numerous email from people complaining that they have money wrapped up in thots that are not selling, and are therefore stuck. My default response, is that people need to be careful about where they put their money, and they need to market their thots both on the site and off using the comments, ad auction, and embeddable stock tickers that are available for every thot. Of course, I recognize that the system and it currently stands is heavily dependant on a critical mass of trading occurring each day, in order to ensure a good experience for the largest percentage of users as possible. If there aren’t enough people buying, then there isn’t enough money being acquired allowing reinvestment. It a vicious cycle that turns frustrated users away from the site worsening the situation. My main strategy to deal with this, so far, is to drive as many people to the site as possible, hoping to cross that threshold, achieve whatever that critical mass of users is to get this economy pumping. As it stands two weeks in, that strategy is failing. The engine is still turning over, and has not started yet.

 

Another tactic that I’ve taken is to try to make the content on the site more compelling. That is why I am introducing new thot types. This started this week with the introduction of YouTube videos, but will continue as we introduce two new types this weekend: RSS newsfeed thots and Twitter Thots. Hopefully this will spur traffic as well.

 

As I look at the numbers however, I concerned that more drastic changes might be needed, changes that involve tinkering with the market mechanism again. I believe that one of the biggest frustrations for user sis the lack of instantaneous gratification that users received when they could just hit the ‘sell’ button in beta 1. The reason that there is no sell button in beta 2 is that sellers need to match up with a buyer, before they can make a sale. I’m not going to get into detail in this post, about why this posed a problem in beta 1, but it pretty clear that many users are frustrated that they can’t just hit sell anymore. I’m working on a compromise that might satisfy both needs. That is, everything remains as it is now, but you have the ability to place a sell ‘order’ on any of your shares and sell them back to the thot (rather than another trader). In order for this to work, the thots would have to pay for them somehow.  This money could come out of the thot’s income, which could of course have an impact on any pending dividends. This is not  a perfect solution since only some thots have enough income to buy back shares (and many do not). I’m also looking into alternative revenue sources for thots, such as changing (something small) to each user you click through a thot. This would be analogous to customers buying a product from a company.

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11 Comments

  1. Significant income from clickthroughs (or hitting play on the videos) would make a lot of sense, since that would emphasize the social bookmarking aspect of the site and inject more liquidity into the stockmarket simulation aspect. As it is, relying on user comments for income over-emphasizes the role of market-makers – those of us fortunate or skillful enough (usually a mixture of both) to have amassed enough spare cash to throw some around. I have no objection whatsoever to investing in Thots via comments as well as by purchasing shares. But liquidity, and returns on investment, should not be over-reliant on that.

  2. Have to agree with Funkypants here. I said early on in beta 2 that the liquidity problem would become an issue as it pertains to people gaining interest.

  3. I think I have the revision to the system planned out. I hope to implement it this weekend.

  4. I’m going to third the opinions above. There needs to be an earning mechanism outside of the comments=dividends method.

    Right now everyone flocks to the thots where MarrakechII and others can throw around dividends. The controller of the stock makes a bundle selling to all of us suckers looking for dividends then we’re stuck holding over priced shares that no one will ever buy because there is no future for earnings.

    It’s a problem and if it’s not fixed it will kill beta 2 and probably cause most of us playing to not bother coming back for beta 3.

    But I do like the buyers have to equal sellers aspect this time around, It makes things a lot more realistic.

  5. Another thought.

    Has there been any consideration of limiting the number of thots available for trade?If you limit the total number of thots on the market it may cause more trading thanks to supply and demand kicking in. Right now there’s an unlimited supply of places to invest and an extremely limited amount of money in the market.

  6. Why not charge a transaction fee for each purchase/sale? This needn’t be much – 0.3% or similar would suffice – but would return money into the system so that a buyback like you have suggested might be funded?

  7. The natives are getting restless as it is shown in the NEWS comment section.

    The buy back program is fine but it has to be brought in with a earnings mechanism. The click through method I think works the best because it actually would reflect how the net works. The most popular pages for a particular subject show up on top for Google search as an example. This would work the same way with the click through method. The more popular sites, videos, Feeds etc would gain the most income then in turn produce a revenue. I have a good idea what it is you are trying to achieve overall for your site and I believe the click through would be the best method. Also if you are trying to gain revenue from that sidebar ad placement you should link it to a stock for that particular company.

  8. Comment to none about limiting the number of thots. I don’t believe that would achieve the aims of this site. This site has a bigger purpose outside of a stock trading game.

  9. I made a REALAGE thot to have an extra link so you can make some real revenue. This should be done for all your real world advertising. Link a dividend to them to make them attractive for buyers and get that click through.

  10. @MarrakechII

    I just figured I’d throw it out there as an idea that might fix the broken mechanics of the game. Right now the haves can make a bundle of money driving up the price of stocks by offering dividends and sell out of the stock before the trading completely dies on it. It’s a great move and well within the current “market” rules but it doesn’t keep people coming back when they’re sitting on shares that they can’t get rid of because people are busy chasing the dividends and making the “rich”, richer.

    With an unlimited number of thots available the laws of supply and demand break down, if the numbers were limited it would make for a more realistic game. Another change that might help is not allowing one to bring a thot to market for $10 and get all 10000 shares. As it stands you can turn a $10 investment into $100 worth of stock immediately. That’s a market problem there.

    Now the problem is it breaks the social bookmarking aspect of the site but does anyone actually use the site in that manner? I doubt it.

  11. @MarrackeshII
    I really didn’t understand that REALAGE thot o.~ but thanks for the free thot.
    And none is right, people do flock into Marrackesh thots due to the huge dividends.

    But I had only 6k friday, I used it for dividend in a thot, manage into “marrackechII list” and had some success.

    I don’t mind what system is beeing used, I just have to be warned not to get surprised.

    Has investors, you have to adjust to the market. Survival of the fittest… 😉


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