For several weeks, the small community of domainer blogs (written for people who invest in domain names) have been following a small mystery: Zynga appeared to have bought a site called RewardVille.com, based on a snippet of source code.
Last night a domainer blog called Fusible caught the site launching. For now, it's just a splash page with a popup, on an attempted login, that says RewardVille is coming in the next few weeks.
However, there are bits of information. On RewardVille's front page it lays out the idea: play Zynga games, and you'll earn something called zCoins, which can be used toward virtual goods.
[Update: Zynga's statement. "As a company focused on innovation we're constantly testing new products and features. When experimenting with new products we take the feedback we receive and apply it to deliver the best possible user experience. We look forward to hearing how our users like RewardVille." The company is going to slowly roll it out to a small group of users in the coming week.]
Fusible found a little more info on Zynga's customer help website — more than Zynga wanted to release, apparently, as the page now appears to be gone. Here it is:
What are zPoints?
Zynga writes: zPoints are points you earn for playing Zynga games. You can earn a maximum of 80 points per game per day, with a maximum of 300 points across the entire Zynga network each day. As you earn points you increase your zLevel and earn zCoins. Currently, you can earn zPoints for playing the following games: FarmVille, FrontierVille, Mafia Wars, Treasure Isle, Zynga Poker
What are zCoins?
"zCoins are awarded when your zLevel increases. zCoins are redeemed in RewardVille for in-game items."
How do I sign up for zPoints?
"You automatically earn zPoints for playing all Zynga games. To redeem zCoins in RewardVille, you must register for a Zynga account."
RewardVille looks like it might be a new iteration of the ideas Zynga tested with zLotto, a promotion lasting a few months in which users who came back to play the lotto every day could win limited-edition virtual goods. The catch was that you might not get items in the game of your choice; Zynga could thus get zLotto users to visit games they wouldn't otherwise try to redeem prizes.
For RewardVille, the idea becomes even more clever: players who want to max out the rewards in their game of choice will have to play games they might not otherwise want to, every single day. To get all 300 points, one would presumably have to play all five games.
Zynga has put more effort into figuring out cross-promotion and retention than any other social game developer so far, so moves like this are worth watching. We'll keep an eye out for when RewardVille launches.
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