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Paying for Virtual Gifts

1 minute read
Laura Fitzpatrick

Buried in Facebook’s new payment terms is this gem: if you spend $1 to get 10 credits at Facebook’s virtual-gift shop–where you can buy icons of unicorns as well as of sock-draped doorknobs (the universal symbol for “Keep out, we’re hooking up”)–you have three years to use up your points. After that, Facebook reserves the right to go rogue by “sending virtual gifts to your Facebook friends.” This is yet another reason to rethink friending your boss, lest you one day unknowingly send her a (virtual) flaming bag of poo.

Why are people spending real money on this stuff? Humor is clearly a big draw: a study last year by Lightspeed Venture Partners found that virtual ninjabread cookies are given twice as often as virtual chocolate. There’s even a create-your-own-gift application, which has more than 300,000 users. Make yours clever enough, and you could horn in on the estimated $42 million in Facebook gift sales.

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