Mixing Business & Pleasure: Games with Resources

Are you a gamer?

I am a serious business person online, but what might surprise some folks is that I am actually an avid gamer too. 

It doesnt consume my life like some gamers, but I subscribe to a game magazine (EGM), frequent some gamer boards, and play games both online and on multiple console systems. So with all this in mind, its no surprise that Im stoked about a trend I see starting to appear more regularly at the various webmaster resource sites and boards: Games.

I remember when I approached one of the main adult webmaster resources back in 2000 with the idea to run an NFL sports-picking game. SportsPicks this year is about to enter its 4th season and is a fun way for you to pick the winners of the weekly NFL games. Since that time, other sports-picking games have come out and some have started weekly contest threads on their boards picking the NFL games. A fun, positive and competitive way for webmasters to interact with each other.

Mogul came along and created Content Lotto which creatively allowed webmasters to play games like: instant win scratch cards, blackjack and lotto in order to win content and at the same time helped to promote various content providers.

Porndaddy with his newer board, TheWebmasters, is one of, if not the first to bring in one of the coolest VBulletin gaming hacks out there: The VB Pro Arcade which is available for free to any VBulletin board owner. VBProArcade allows users to integrate flash games with high scoring right into the VBulletin board complete with high score tables, comments and more. TheWebmasters also integrated the VBStore hack so you can get points for your high scores to use for contests. Are you good at Flash? You can make your own flash games (great marketing potential here) and make them available to all VB Pro Arcade users. Very cool. 

While Im at VBulletin, the VB hacks site is probably one of the best places anybody who runs a VBulletin board (which the majority of adult webmaster threaded boards seem to be using) should check out for updating and adding new, cool things for their webmaster members. I would have your favorite programmer look over adding some of these cool mods so your board can stand out from the hundreds of others who are using the default install.

On June 1, 2003, I created and launched a new game at Adult Netsurprise called Post Poker which allows folks when they post to generate five card poker hands and be ranked in a scoring table based on their hands. This has been met with excitement from many of the members over there in addition to increasing the overall posting. But not just generating nonsense posts, but has actually increased business posting as well. This is a good thing.

Porn Is Bad is running a contest to try and generate the "Worlds Biggest Thread": 13,258 posts in a single thread as of the time of this writing and who knows how many by the time you are reading (or whether the contest is still even running) of course the danger in contests like this are someone runs out with a posting bot. 

I know the apprehension with and negativity surrounding the concept of posting games and contests is that they will generate silly, nonsense or mechanical (bot) posts from users and that the board itself is artificially increasing post counts, and that is probably one reasonable argument for not having them, but what these games also do is generate activity among the member base, which will keep people interested and coming back to the board to discuss business and visit the sponsors. Since most of the boards are threaded, one can simply skip over these posting games threads, if they so desire, and still ask serious business questions, I think, so its a win-win situation for the sponsors and the webmasters. 

In fact, sponsors might consider creating and/or sponsoring specific games at the boards, because this is a subtle and different way to get their programs in front of webmasters. Banners and buttons are becoming a bit stale, so new ways are needed to get webmasters attention. How about integrating some advertising into the actual gameplay of these games? How about during these posting contests involving the sponsors in some significant way?

This is where I think the business should be injected into these contests. Often being one of the prize sponsors is the sole promotion for the sponsor, but Id suggest that more sponsors become interactive in the contest or game in some more significant way to reap the biggest benefit from it. This involves a little more creativity on part of the game/contest creators, but it will pay bigger dividends for the sponsors.

Recently YNOT has taken one of the more significant plunges by any webmaster resource site to date in the gaming arena with its new YNOT Kill Zone. This website allows webmasters to join in online gaming in groups which are often called "clans" against other webmasters on their special game server playing first person shooter games like: Counter Strike, Quake 3, Urban Terror, Castle Wolfenstein and more. Dont own any of these games or know what hey are about? They offer you help in how to get into the scene and even provide you links to buy the software and hardware you will need.

Some might say that these games get in the way of doing business.

The reality is that the sales business at all levels, brick and mortar and/or online has historically been massaged by some type of entertainment. Entertainment expenses gets their own classification with taxes. Wine and dining good clients, taking them to entertaining events; its the sort of thing that invites additional sales and retains good clients. With this in mind, Im happy to see that increasingly more webmaster resources are looking into games and fun activities to mix in with business activities.

My only word of caution to webmasters who partake in these contests and games (and theres plenty of reasons that we should play) would be not to take up too much time playing. Control, balance and discipline with any activity are important. One should not work too much, sleep too much and/or play too much. Just balance everything right and you can increase your business and networking opportunities. Its just possible that the person you always wanted to do business with loves to play one of these games or enter these contests and this could be a good bridge builder and/or icebreaker.

Having an open mind to new ways to market your business can pay huge dividends.

TDavid is co-owner, programmer and webmaster for several sites devoted to programming including his own TdScript
. He has done custom programming in various programming languages for companies all over the world. Every Friday at 2pm PST you can catch his weekly radio show dedicated to the technical side of webmastering and programming at ScriptSchool

Reader Comments: (1 posts)

Mircea says:
Back in school, I'm doing so much leiranng.
October 29th, 2011
at 1:41pm EST
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