Archive for June 12th, 2017

Faux Pas online

Posted on Monday, June 12th, 2017 at 11:40 am

One of my hobbies is studying gaming sites that use Flash in coordination with javascript and databases.  The study is two fold, one is the way the code is developed and deployed, the other the way that they’re managed and promoted.  This entails creating accounts and playing the games to some degree, as well as studying the browser inspector and decompiling the Flash apps.  I’m not a serious player or looking to start my own gaming site, it’s just a hobby.  The only advantage I’m seeking is an awareness of the processes in general.

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Some of the gaming sites are fairly passive in their promotion, while some are very ambitious.  The one I have been looking at recently, a slots site, is pretty ambitious, using email and Facebook to promote the site.  The email has been categorized as spam by Gmail, which shows their level of ambition.  But their Facebook is even more ambitious.

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Slots appeal to a passive gamer, they press a button and hope for luck to grace them with an epinephrine rush.  It requires no skills other than to recognize a losing streak and backing off when they strike.  Naturally, the thrill of winning is overpowered by the losing streaks, and the tendency is to lose steadily when the losing streak is not heeded.  This is the money maker for the site, because credit can be purchased when it runs out.  But to keep people hooked and playing long enough to make them buyers, they offer limited amounts of free credits, in this case, email and Facebook supplying promo codes (making them familiar with the buying process).  There is also a trickle of hourly free credits available by logging in and bonuses for advancing levels.

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The freebie promos are usually worth about $0.05 to $0.50, enough to purchase a few spins, but not enough to sustain play indefinitely.  Sometimes the promos require assembling jigsaw puzzles, voting and being in the majority, multiple choice guessing, etc.  Sometimes the code is just given on the page or in the email.

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Well, yesterday, a code was just given on the Facebook page, offering 50k credits ($0.10).  However, the reward given for entering the promo code was 50M credits ($100.00).  (Value is set at a discounted price, which is very common, base value is twice that.  There isn’t any single value of a credit, it fluctuates quite a bit with the specials offered, as mercurial as the slots’ luck.)  The code was posted late in the day before the staff closed shop for the night.  So it went for 11 hours before the error was noted and damage control began.  My estimate is that several hundred of their members entered the code, a small enough percentage of the total membership.

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Their first step was to change the reward amount to the correct amount, then to delete the comments to the article that mentioned the 50M credit database error in programming the reward, keeping those that simply said thanks.  So far, there has been no attempt to reclaim the 50M credits (at least from my account).  It would be easy enough using a search of the accounts database.  If they are intelligent, they will just accept the error on their part and go on as if nothing happened, letting everyone who benefitted keep the credits.  The credits will depart those who collected them quickly enough, as the slots offer many levels of betting, from 10 to 1M credits per line (X the number of lines selected).

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Now there are some big time winners who have achieved a total in the trillions or quadrillions of credits, but they are rare.  So 50M is not that big of a deal if only a small portion of the members benefitted.  And letting it go as if it never happened, is a better solution than the bad publicity from reclaiming the credits would generate.  Too many to correct, too few to fret.

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Personally, it wouldn’t bother me if it was taken back.  I’m not a gambler.  I’m there to study code and practices.  Part of that is being able to guess when a down streak is in progress from coding patterns.  After all, it is an algorithm in the Flash code that defines the luck, not physical random process.  I will probably move on before the riches dissipate.  I am more involved with making the total grow by pattern recognition (50k starter > 4M +50M thus far, counting the promos and bonuses, they have not seen my credit card) than punching the spin button and waiting for the up or down emotions from experiencing luck.

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The process of feeding escape to the masses via the internet is a tricky business.  It’s not good enough to simply come up with a killer interactive web site.  It has to be managed properly 24/7 with safeguards for human error.