Monday, August 6, 2007

some latest musings on prizes

With about a week left in the current contest we're looking at what it has done for the community. Aside from being fun and spanky, the contests are great for getting people engaged with the site and getting them to invite new spankers.

So far during this contest I'm inferring that the iPhone is an exciting prize to people... but is it $300 more exciting than a Bose SoundDock? Probably not. The SoundDock appears to be a better prize for most people - exciting enough to get some people spanking, and "no strings attached" - all you need is an iPod. it may even be exciting if you already have one. But apparently not so with the iPhone - though it's more valuable, there are more reasons not to want one.

It's hard to test the relative efficacy of the new prizes in part because other variables are in motion too (ah such is life). For example, many spankers are b-school colleagues who are vacationing before their real jobs, so they are barely online. It will be interesting to see if their activity spikes when they start work, as would fit our data so far (office workers use more consistently than students).

In the future there will be fancier ways to choose among a wider array of prize options, and this should delight everyone.

As for spankers inviting their friends... it appears so far that although spankers are motivated by prizes, and this might lubricate the process of getting invitations out, they still need pretty direct encouragement to invite people. In other words, saying "dude, invite people to my site" may be more effective in the end than an iPhone! Although having BOTH helps :-). Of course we analyze this stuff on an ongoing basis with all kinds of crazy quantitative and qualitative methods.