ScratchYourself: Viral Sweepstakes That Brands Could Love

A new service called ScratchYourself came to our attention today. It’s a fairly simple Flash application that lets users upload an image and build a lottery-style scratch card from it. During the beta period people have a chance to win some very limited cash prizes that total $90 or so per day across all winners.

Once a scratch card has been created, users can email it to friends or embed it on their site. I created a quick scratch card with our logo and have embedded it below.

What interests me more than the front end, which would easily be duplicated, is the business model and payments infrastructure they’ve put in place. Users have an incentive to create and embed these on their blogs, MySpace page, etc.: if you create a scratchcard and someone wins a prize, you get the same prize as the creator of the card. Prizes are awarded, at the winner’s choice, via paypal, mailed check or amazon gift certificate.

The company’s business model is to attract advertisers to sponsor prizes (cash, products, coupons). If ScratchYourself turns out to be trustworthy and can circumnavigate the rather complicated federal and state regulations governing sweepstakes, brands could be attracted to this. You get a good long look at the image underneath the scratch area, which is more than can be said for most banner advertising. And publishers will like the ability to win the same prizes as their readers.

Shycast and Bix (acquired by Yahoo) are also experimenting with brand based contests, albeit through video (and Shycast is also a social network).

Note: If you make a goatse scratchcard, please do not share it with me (yes, I thought about all kinds of things that you people will want to try out).