Startup FreeGameCredits.com doesn’t have the problem of an ambiguous name — just as you’d guess, it allows mobile game developers to run promotions offering in-game credits.
The company is announcing that it has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Los Angeles-based “startup studio” Science Inc. It’s also launching its first promotion later today — Vivid Games is making its Real Boxing iOS app free for the day, and users of FreeGameCredits.com will also receive $4 of in-game currency.
Science co-founder and partner Peter Pham told me that he likes to back things that are “kind of obvious” and look like they’re going to succeed as long as the team doesn’t screw it up. (He didn’t exactly say “screw it up,” but I’m trying to be polite here.)
In this case, he said it seemed obvious that mobile game developers would want to offer targeted promotions, similar to an app like Uber offering discounts to first-time users. However, it turned out that there’s no easy way for developers to do this — they can offer the same amount of free in-game credits to all first-time users, but the developer can’t give specific groups a bigger discount, even if “you know I’m a whale and I’m in the perfect target demographic.”
With FreeGameCredits, however, founder and CEO Joe Bayen said users can follow a special app store link (it works for both iOS and Android) from the company’s mobile site and they’ll receive a unique discount. The offers will be curated and run for a limited period of time, and he said they can be additionally targeted based on things like device type, geography, and gender.
To make this work, he said developers only need to add “a few lines of code in their app.”
Pham and Bayen both argued that this approach makes much more sense than rewarding users for watching an ad or downloading an app (something that Apple has recently become more sensitive about). After all, if Game A offers you Game A credits if you download Game B, you’re probably not that interested in Game B and are less likely to be a valuable player.
Oh, and speaking of really on-the-nose website names, Bayen has actually had some success with a related business, having founded FreeAppADay.com, a site that he said generated more than $60 million in revenue for developers. Following FreeAppADay’s shutdown, Bayen said he’d actually planned to take some time off, but he was working “literally a block away” from the Science offices in Santa Monica, and the Science partners convinced him to work on something new.