Making real money with virtual roses

1276666329What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. - Shakespeare

Voice of America reports on a new Chinese social network, YY. The name is similar to that of a rival, QQ, aka Tencent. You may recall that QQ Coins caused an intervention by the Central Bank of China; they were being used too much as normal currency. The currency of YY is a rose. But guess what, you can make real money with virtual roses. VoA tells us that musicians will set up a video site in YY (video is a capacity that QQ does not have) and if people like the music, they give the band a couple roses. The roses are worth something, and there are stories of significant incomes from this practice.

Couple things to note. First, we are seeing more and more examples of direct transfer of value from one average schmoe to another. Things like, people using Square to be credit card merchants, or PayPal, or people shaking their smartphones together to make a transaction. Imagine a future where there are billions of tiny money receivers, not just tiny money spenders. Every man, woman and child is a firm. The middlemen fall away; I wouldn't want to be a young guy in the credit card business right now.

Second, it's striking how quickly this thing popped up. It targets middle- and low-income Chinese, which means, it came out of the white space. There's an awful lot of white space out there. There are billions of lower-income people just now getting access to smartphones. Social norms are changing - how much longer will we say "women don't play games"? Farmville once had 80m users, and if we take churn into account, maybe ten times that saw it at some time. That's still a drop in the bucket. Deeper experiences like WoW have been seen by even fewer people. There's a huge upside and it's not always going to arrive gradually.

Comments on Making real money with virtual roses:

Old Tom says:

"Imagine a future where there are billions of tiny money receivers, not just tiny money spenders."

You mean something like this > ?

Sounds a lot like Whuffie (

Posted Aug 23, 2012 11:32:10 AM | link

sniffy says:

"Imagine a future where there are billions of tiny money receivers, not just tiny money spenders. Every man, woman and child is a firm.

Imagine a world in which the US government goes into conniptions about money laundering and untaxed transactions, then creams its shorts with joy as it realizes the perfect excuse for tracking and recording every financial transaction, no matter how small.

Posted Aug 23, 2012 1:35:46 PM | link

Joker says:

how is this any different than the linden fake dollar...? musicians have been paid in linbux for over 7 years... if the difference is "scale"..well facebook, zynga, Yahoo and big banks linked into the Gov 1.0, exist to show what'll happen if laws, not banker codes arent enacted from the bottom up. So far the bottom just wants free anarchy and all the free IP it can eat.

Posted Aug 23, 2012 5:24:08 PM | link

Richard Bartle says:

How are they handling the cashing-out? Is it like Entropia, where the company gives you the money, or is it like Second Life where the users give you the money?

Posted Aug 24, 2012 8:14:30 AM | link

Bryan Stewart says:

The Chinese voice chat under the name YY. The service generating more than traffic, than Skype.
Despite the active growth of the Internet market in China, such international giants as Google and Facebook, experience difficulties, trying to reach 300-million Chinese Internet audience. In this market the Chinese players while the western networks experience difficulties with adaptation to the Chinese culture and user requirements dominate.

Posted Sep 9, 2012 11:01:45 AM | link

jelly andrews says:

This is great. Thanks for sharing this one. Very interesting!

Posted Oct 3, 2012 8:44:27 AM | link