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One of the biggest mistakes that people make when designing engagement with gamification is to assume that cash (or stuff) is the ultimate reward. Time and time again, evidence shows that tangible rewards have serious deficits in an incentive scheme.

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    over 5 years ago #

    Good, quick read. Cash rewards though do seem to work pretty well in referral programs such as Uber and Venmo's.

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      over 5 years ago #

      I think those work because they are the only currency of those systems - just like space is the currency of dropbox - and make your usage of those systems easier by effectively discounting future use.

      I do think that with Uber, they could introduce other game mechanics like for eg X uses and/or Y referrals gets you:
      Status: Ability to select specific car/driver (if available)
      Access: No surge pricing
      Power: Ability to give free rides to friends when they want

      • MB

        Morgan Brown

        over 5 years ago #

        I actually think cash is problematic in these types of programs, because it has an easily anchored value which is tough to deal with for lower dollar amounts. Get $10 is acceptable, but would you invite friends for $1/friend? Probably not.

        For systems where the value is more abstract and not easily anchored this works much better. Is 250 MBs worth inviting friends for Dropbox worth it? Sure—250 MBs sounds like a lot. But it costs the company far less than $1 to provide.

        So if you have an abstract value that is intrinsically lower than it appears, go for it. If you have to give away real cash, then you have to make the economics work for everyone, which can be very expensive/hard to do in many situations.

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