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Since the first time I've seen this Pay with a Tweet conecept I have this question in my mind.

There are some examples like:

  • Share this page to download/adquire your content/product
  • Share your website / Like us on Facebook to unlock premium content

Example of a website like this

The thesis states that (and this Pay with a Tweet concept idea won a Cannes prize):

  • Your content goes viral
  • Your user will take the action of "paying" without a real monetary effort

My antithese is that:

  • The user doesn't necessarily need to enjoy the content to share it, and maybe not even going to recomend it, I believe that in most cases he/she doesn't even know what is that they are sharing (sharing to find out), which means it may piss off not only the user after he/she finds out about the content, but also the friend that clicks in the link and the first action required to him/her is to share as well, which may lead him/her to thin "Oh, it was only shared because it was required, I'm not wasting my time'
  • This could cause the user to give up on reading/adquiring/downloading your content/product because he/she doesn't want necessarily to share.

So, the question is: Is that a good practice and is that worth it?

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I'm not going to answer this question until you follow me on Facebook. –  JonW Jan 17 at 11:14
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

UX answer: No.

Wait. That's not right.

UX answer: Hell no!

Annoying the user is usually not going to provide a good user experience. So don't do it.

Business/Marketing answer: Maybe.

Maybe the benefits outweigh the UX drawbacks. But we can't answer that as it will vary from project to project, business objective to business objective, etc.

As for 'going viral' that's not exactly what this does. It could also be called 'spam your friends with our marketing message'. 'Going viral' is more of an organic thing...not something perpetuated by a marketing team. Most users understand the difference. So be careful with that. Contrived viral content can backfire as likely as succeed.

Now, all that said, I have certainly used and appreciated the 'pay with a tweet' model. It's a simple formula for me: Is the content worth more than me sending a tweet and possibly slightly annoying my followers? If it is, I do it. If not, I skip. Unfortunately, that's not an easy formula to calculate.

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Pay with a tweet? For the product yes, for the demo no. +1 by the way. –  Marjan Venema Jan 17 at 18:04
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I believe that in most cases he/she doesn't even know what is that they are sharing (sharing to find out), which means it may piss off not only the user after he/she finds out about the content, but also the friend that clicks in the link and the first action required to him/her is to share as well, which may lead him/her to thin "Oh, it was only shared because it was required, I'm not wasting my time'

In my personal experience, every time I've utilized a 'Pay With A Tweet' the website clearly stated what I was getting in return for a tweet or Facebook post. Items I've done this with are probably items I might have shared anyway, but this provided an extra incentive to do so (I was getting 'paid' with something of value whether that's a font, mp3 file, or other exclusive content.)

Is that a good practice and is that worth it?

How is paying with a tweet different than with a credit card? Both are currencies. Like anything online though, things can be abused. You're probably using this as a dark pattern if:

  • you're not explicitly telling users what they're gaining in return for their tweet or Facebook post.
  • you don't allow users to customize their post message.
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