i’m taking Two by Two from the Untold Entertainment library to see how various online monetization methods for Flash games pan out.
Part 3: MochiAds
First things first: the MochiAds user agreement keeps me from linking to the site or using the service’s logo, both of which i’m doing in spades here. But since the purpose of this article is to review and critique the service, i claim these usages under Canada’s Fair Dealing provision. And with that, we begin.
MochiAds has a very simple premise: embed a few lines of code in your Flash game, and it will pull an ad down from the server into your game. Then MochiAds splits the advertising revenue with you, the game designer. The soon-to-be fabulously wealthy game designer.
You decide where the ads will appear. You can throw them up before gameplay, after gameplay, or during level breaks – or all three, if you’re greedy … or if you’ve only made eighty cents on your game and you need to see your penny proceeds jump into the triple-digits like someone i know. *cough* me *cough*
MochiAds is the subject of many modern Internatz urban legends about making money through game design. Time and again, i’ve heard people say “then you just throw some ads in there, and buhZZAM!! Instant hundreds. That’s why i wanted to put MochiAds to the test, to see if there was any truth to the rumour that it’s a viable way to monetize your Flash games.
There’s really not much to report on here. As with the Kongregate service, there are really only a few lines of code to integrate before your game is MochiAds-ready. The site requires you to sign up for an account, agree to a big page of legalese (see above), and upload your MochiAds-enabled game to their servers. The idea here, i gather, is that MochiAds becomes your distribution partner by offering its slate of ad-enabled games to website publishers. Publishers can just swing by and grab games to add to their sites, which benefits MochiAds and the game designer. Right?
It benefits both of us, right? Like, we both get something out of it?
Giving It Your .001%
It’s at this point in the process that i began to feel like a bit of a tool. In the MochiAds Developer agreement, Mochi reserves the right to change the agreement at any time, and to notify their developers by email (alright), or by posting the change on their website (not alright). i was trying to imagine a world where i’d wake up one morning and think “Hmm … i wonder if the MochiAds agreement has changed today?” And then i visit the website, and voila – MochiAds owns my soul.
MochiAds is pleased to announce its appointment of Satan to Chief Executive Officer.
The agreement goes on to state:
The net amount of each User Revenue Share shall be determined in Mochi’s sole discretion based on various factors
So let me break this deal down for you: you give MochiAds your game for free. Mochi then throws your game in a zip file for any portal owner to boogie on down and snatch to spice up his site. Mochi earns money from the ads they inject into your game, and you earn … whatever Mochi feels like giving you. Honest – that’s how it works. Mochi also reserves the right not to show its work, obscuring the math that goes into your cut. It amounts to working for someone for free, AND for a bad cause.
Quel deal!, as i imagine the French might someday say.
Paging Dr. Dover
Onus vs. Own Us
According to the friendly folks on the MochiAds forums, the best way to really drive revenue from a MochiAds-enabled game is to get it on one of the “big” Flash game portals. There are differing opinions as to which portals belong to this elite group, but your intrepid reporter made sure to submit his game to all of them. The catch here is that certain portals won’t take just any game. In some cases, you have to submit your game to the site and wait for them to approve and post it.
In my mind, this is as demeaning as those logo competitions i hear about, where a firm tries to save money on a graphic designer by offering some paltry amount – usually $500 – for the best logo submission. Of course, i can blow $500 just making the connecting call to my overseas love chat operator (i like it when they say all those sexy words in Dutch), so it’s never been an appealing proposition. Besides – who spends $500 on their permanent corporate identity? Don’t get me started.
Self-awareness check: i do realize that my company logo looks like it was scrawled by a grade schooler doing his science fair project on cooties
Or better yet, submitting your game to these exclusive portals is like begging someone to let you work for them for free, a plea i reserve only for professional monster truck drivers.
No – seriously. If you’re tired tonight, i can fill in for you at the stadium.
Unlike my original experiment with Kongregate, i decided to put Two By Two up on the service and let it stew for a while before pronouncing judgment. As of this writing, the game has been on the service for over a month. It’s quick and easy to see the money my game has earned using Mochi’s robust suite of tracking tools, including their draggable line graph, rss feed earnings update, and milestone tracker.
Facetiousness – now in status bar form
For each calendar month that Two By Two has been on the service, i’ve seen 1 penny. At this rate, i can retire when i’m eighty million years old.
Let’s take another look at our graph and see how much money the game is earning, shall we?
i could try to make this graph more impressive by dipping to a sub-penny scale(?)
In Mochi’s defense, Kongregate had a one-month head start
There is hope on the horizon. MindJolt Games, one of the elite portals i mentioned, has accepted Two By Two to its service (which, to me, is the equivalent of accepting help from a rescue helicopter when you go mountain climbing and get stuck in a crevasse for four days and are forced to eat your own arms). i hear tell around these here parts that MindJolt’s “New Games” list traffic alone is enough to propel a MochiAds-enabled game into the dollar-earning stratosphere.
Two By Two goes live on MindJolt July 30th 2008.
Keep watching this feature for more info on monetizing your Flash games!