Leave it to the mob to figure out how to make Twitter a good earner for their family, er, company. Well, not the mob exactly, but Lolplaying, a social media gaming startup whose 140 Mafia game lets Twitter users turn their followers into La Casa Nostra.
The text-based game uses Super Rewards, a company that manages virtual currency for social media-based gaming platforms. 140 Mafia revolves around earning “Respect Points” to advance in the game. Players can turn on Twitter-based advertising to play the game — but they can also pay $10 or more for a whole lot of Respect (Points) up front.
According to the Associated Press, Super Rewards founder Jason Bailey says some players have spent thousands of dollars on the virtual currency. Lolplaying gets revenue from advertising and the currency its players buy. (Presumably, they’re not making much money yet.)
With a few exceptions — notably Second Life and some games on Facebook and MySpace — virtual currencies haven’t taken off in the U.S.
But on Twitter, virtual currencies are easily combined with mobile payments — another technology investors have been pushing for years without much success. Combining Super Rewards virtual currency with Twitter’s mobility could make virtual currencies that can span multiple games and networks. That may be the key to widespread adoption. Or it may turn out to be nothing.
Twitter itself isn’t wetting its beak in Super Rewards, or any other currency. Co-founder Biz Stone has bragged the company is sitting on so much of their $55 million fundraising round that they don’t have to think about making money for now. But so far this year, a whopping $23.3 million has been invested in startup companies that plan to make money primarily on Twitter.