Image via CrunchBaseMichael Arrington going after Anu Shukla a few months back would be like Michael Arrington saying Google is an evil company because click fraud happens, link farms happen. Click fraud happens despite Google's best efforts. Crime happens in New York City despite Michael Bloomberg's best efforts. "The safest big city in America just became safer."
First Anu has to work within the FTC guidelines and she does, or she would not be in business very long. Then there are the Facebook guidelines, and Facebook has chosen to have higher standards than the FTC because they don't want to compromise the user experience in any form or fashion. And if Anu did not follow those Facebook guidelines, some of the games Anu is involved with will no longer be on the Facebook platform. But they continue to be. That is to say they follow the Facebook guidelines. And Anu's company Offerpal Media has strict guidelines of its own. Because they know not compromising the user experience is good for their bottom line. And Anu's company allows its vendors to kick out individual advertisers from their platforms without having to explain why. You don't have to be a fraudulent advertiser to get kicked out. If a particular game does not like you, you are no longer welcome on their platform.
Despite these half dozen layers of policing, some slimey stuff does end up happening. And that can be talked about. That has to be talked about, sure. But to make that slimey stuff the center of the focus is to miss the fundamental point, which is that Anu has done nothing less than found the new frontier in advertising.
Image via CrunchBaseYahoo used to do banner ads. Then Google came along and said no to that. They said, we don't want to have any ads on our main page, and we want to offer contextual text advertising. At some level that was like going from color movies to black and white, from colorful ads to text ads. But Google had hit the new frontier in advertising at the time. Zuckerberg said search contexts are less relevant than the social graph. And that was the new frontier all over again. Anu has come along and said, wait a minute. Banner or text, context or social graph, you are missing the point. The real action is that people are interacting. That is what gaming is about. The ads and the money transactions have to be part of that gaming experience, not a banner apart. Now that is fundamental insight. That is a paradigm shift.
More than 160 million people and counting play Farmville. Of those less than 100,000 file complaints. Most of those complaints are people saying I paid real cash for virtual coins, and I did not get my coins. Farmville takes care of all those complaints. Usually it gives players more coins than they paid for but say did not get.
Michael Arrington wrote 22 posts on TechCrunch about those 100,000 people. I look forward to seeing 35,200 posts on TechCrunch about the rest of the "scamville" users.
I Just Became Friends With Anu Shukla