Last weekend Linden Lab started selling Second Life starter packs on Amazon, including this one above, for L$1000 and a hoverboard, which was originally being given away for free as a promotional offer, and two funny things happened: SL users immediately started trying to exploit the offer; so much so, that Linden Lab prematurely pulled it. ("[T]he promotional offer was terminated early due to repeated attempts to circumvent the one-per-customer limit," Linden spokesman Peter Gray tells me.) But despite doing that, the promotional offer is now the top seller in the Free-to-Play Games category on Amazon, above offerings from extremely popular free-to-play MMOs like Battlestar Galactica and RuneScape. So now a lot of Amazon customers who buy virtual items for their favorite freemium game are probably seeing Second Life as a retail offering there for the first time.
"We saw great demand for the deal," Gray added to me, "and hope to be able to offer similar special promotions in the future." I hope they do -- but I also hope the Lindens see the larger opportunity here:
Promotional offers on Amazon generate massive conversion rates, a halo effect, and a new base of monetized customers. The other, pricier Second Life offerings on Amazon are selling much slower, so the real win, ironically enough, seems to be this terminated promotional offer. It's attracted thousands (maybe tens or even hundreds of thousands) of customers to Amazon, where they've connected their Second Life account to their Amazon account via account linking (see above), which links their Amazon account with their SL account. That creates a direct relationship between their credit card/PayPal/etc. accounts and their Second Life account, often where one did not previously exist. That's good for future sales, and revenue. And because this promotional offer did so well, it became a bestseller on Amazon's chart, which acts as excellent free promotion for non-SLers.
Advice to the Lab: Next time you do a promotional offer on Amazon, give away a bunch of free Linden Dollars and a starter pack pre-installed with starter kits for one or more of Second Life's many user-made mini-MMOs, the kind that would appeal to folks who play RuneScape, World of Tanks, etc. You may actually get some new paying customers.Tweet