Comprehensive Review – Best Virtual Currency “Offer” Platform: OfferPal, gWallet, SuperRewards

For years, game developers have been searching for a way to monetize on their products/services. For as long as I can remember, the main revenue generating strategy was just plain advertising – banners, text links and for the few games that warranted it–subscriptions. For many developers, these strategies failed to drive sustainable revenues, forcing developers out of the space. The beacon of hope came with sites like FreeiPods.com. There was a realization that advertisers would pay to have users incentivized into purchasing/trying/filling-out their product. It was not long before someone ported the idea for the new wave of social gaming applications such as FarmVille, where users would actually spend time to customize a virtual farm with the purchase of virtual items. The dedication some of these users had to their farms was unbelievable until I considered the social aspect of the game. I could then understand the need of these users to impress/show off (which is great for Zygna, who is making a killing with OfferPal).

I decided that one of my sites, PrankDial.com, could implement the same virtual currency strategy and last summer I endeavored on a long journey to do just that. Unfortunately, when I tried to find reviews for the “Best Virtual Currency Platform”, I came up empty handed. Although there were a few sites with some talk, none had real data to back up their claims.

Forward to January ‘10 – virtual currency contributed to 35% of our monthly revenue on PrankDial, which was awesome. But was that the most I could be getting? Up until that point, I had only used OfferPal to monetize- but what about the other platforms? gWallet was creating a lot of buzz, could they be making me more?

I set out on an ambitious mission to find the “best virtual currency platform” with data to back up my results. Each platform (OfferPal, gWallet, SuperRewards) was tested for five days.
(Please understand that platforms may perform differently depending on your audience– PrankDial’s demographic consists of mostly teens and college students, like most online games.)

My results are below:

Virtual Currency Comparison ChartI was first to integrate OfferPal and I found it was a fairly quick and simple process. gWallet followed a very similar structure to OfferPal in their integration, so it was really just swiping some variables. SuperRewards wasn’t necessarily the hardest to integrate but it diverged the most from OfferPal and gWallet, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

I was first to integrate OfferPal and I found it was a fairly quick and simple process. gWallet followed a very similar structure to OfferPal in their integration, so it was really just swiping some variables. SuperRewards wasn’t necessarily the hardest to integrate but it diverged the most from OfferPal and gWallet, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

SuperRewards also did not have the “IP” security documented in their integration doc, which limits the IPs that are able to access the callback page. While SuperRewards may have taken longer to integrate, their ability to customize the platform was unparalleled. Not only could you customize the CSS design of the platform, you could also define an unlimited number of “custom callback variables”, which may be exactly what some of you are looking for. They also have an earnings API, which I honestly have not looked that much into but I’m assuming you can retrieve your earnings information and display it in your own system. I don’t understand why every affiliate/publisher program doesn’t have this. Can you imagine being able to put all your revenue data in one place and display it however you like? Way better than logging into every single console and downloading the information. The statistical possibilities of this is limitless- thumbs up on that, SuperRewards.

Offer variety goes to OfferPal because they are straight up offer aggregators, which is way easier than having a sales force and getting offers directly from advertisers (gWallet). However, the latter approach is probably a better way to filter out “scam offers” (ScamVille). OfferPal may just be beating out SuperRewards (also an aggregator, I believe) just because they’ve been in the VCP (Virtual Currency Platform) game longer. But again, functionality wise, SuperRewards trumps. They have a system in which publishers themselves can easily choose which offers they want their users to see or not see, whereas with gWallet and OfferPal, I’m assuming you’d have to email them.

I maybe biased on this but OfferPal seemed to provide the best support. The representatives were always quick to respond to emails and would go out of their ways to make sure everything was well.

One downside about OfferPal – their interface is kind of disjointed. Their reporting looks completely different from the main site and SuperReward’s interface wasn’t that great either.
gWallet had some nifty Ajax reporting. But one thing both of these had that gWallet didn’t was graphs (I love graphs). And if you don’t have graphs gWallet, why don’t you let me export into Excel with a csv so I can make some?SuperRewards on the other hand didn’t have country reporting but they made up for that in a Postback error report. This report posts all the errors you receive from postbacks, a feature the other two were lacking.

There are three things I would like to mention about SuperRewards.
First, the way they define ratios (tokens to ’sr points’) is confusing. While most offer platforms let you define how many tokens you want to give a user per dollar, they make you define it per 100 SR points. But how much is 100 SR points? I had to do some testing before I figured it out and realized that 2 tokens per 100 SR points should roughly be 50 cents a token (2 tokens a dollar). But this was not until a few of my users were able to snag 100’s of tokens on the cheap from my preliminary assessment (guess – 50 tokens per 100 sr points). I guess they were lucky for my inability (or rather SuperRewards’ inability) to understand that. I have no idea what a SR point equates to in monetary value.

Also testing postbacks is a little different than with OfferPal and gWallet, you actually have to login to your site and test things out rather than being able to do everything from the publisher console, which I found a bit annoying.

Finally, they have an added security measure to ensure users don’t get double postbacks. It requires you to keep track of the total tokens a user has been awarded. This would have made it necessary to add new tables to PrankDial, which I decided against (it was just a 5 day test, jeez), so I just integrated what they believed to be the less “secure” way. I just added “new tokens” the postback reported to the tokens the user currently had. This was the method that OfferPal and gWallet had recommended, so I didn’t quite understand why SuperRewards took a new approach. When speaking to a support representative at SuperRewards, I was informed in case of a failed postback, multiple postbacks maybe done, at which time a user may get rewarded more than once for an offer. If this is the case, why does OfferPal and gWallet outline a method that doesn’t even mention this potential issue? Could SuperRewards’ server be more susceptible to downtime? Not sure.

I didn’t have a chance to try out the app exchange but gWallet was the only platform lacking one. Also minimum payout may also be a big deal for all you small fishes trying to make some cash. gWallet doesn’t have a minimum payout listed on their site. Anyone care to post what it may be? To my delight, all of the platforms have a variety of payout optons including: check, paypal, and bank wire. gWallet also has “none” for any of you interested in not being paid.

eCPM One gripe with all three of these platforms: eCPM is defined by impressions not visitors! At least that’s what Google says. By default, they are calculating eCPM with the formula (total earnings/visitors x 1000), it should be (total earnings/impression x 1000). This is just a blatant inflation of eCPM. Come on guys!

The winner in all this: OfferPal

They had the highest payout of any of the three offer platforms and we all know that’s what really matters (cheese). Detailed numbers are below:

eCPM, CPC, and more..I hope this helps out some of you confused souls. As always, comment up!

-Fahim

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