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Archive for December 11th, 2007

AceBucks

Dec 11, 2007 in 3 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun, Money

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

AceBucks Facebook Application
AceBucks — “the largest underground currency for Facebook”.

The AceBucks is virtual currency and has no real value. It’s just that… virtual. So why would you want AceBucks? And what makes the 700,000+ people that have it installed want AceBucks?

Spending AceBucks

Acebucks PurchaseWith AceBucks you can buy things, both real and virtual, through their store. Sweet!

I like alcohol, so I bought the “Cheers!” champagne glasses. Well not really. I bought the virtual “Cheers!” champagne glasses which just adds a picture to the AceBucks box in my profile.

I liked the large picture and would have liked to show it off in my profile, but all I get in my profile is this tiny thumb. Hardly seems worth my $12 AceBucks :(

Ok. Screw the virtual items then. Lets find some real ones…

There are a few real items worth buying on there as well, like a Nintendo WII or this XBOX 360 I found…

AceBucks XBOX 360

Earning AceBucks

So now that you’ve found something you want… how do you earn AceBucks?

First signing up will get you $125 AceBucks, inviting friends will get you $5 AceBucks and $25 AceBucks if they actually join. There are also 11 different Faceboook games that reward you with AceBucks. (yes AceBucks has an API). You can earn additional AceBucks with 3rd party offers from companies like NetFlix, PetSmart, Disney, Walmart, etc. Signing up for newsletters will earn you AceBucks. You can also sell your own items for AceBucks.

AceBucks Problems

The AceBucks application is pretty cool, but it’s not without it’s flaws.

You cannot convert your AceBucks into dollars or dollars into AceBucks. This makes it incredibly difficult to ever afford the expensive stuff.

People do auction off US Dollars (USD). So you could “buy” $50 USD for X amount of AceBucks. But this brings me to yet another problem.

There’s no way to tell what is a real tangible item that will be shipped to my door. All auctions are marked with either “real” or “virtual”. But I’ve found way too many virtual items being sold as real items.

AceBucks Ferrari
I can afford 2 REAL Ferrari’s With my current AceBucks balance!

It’s easy to tell that this Ferrari is not a real Ferrari just by looking at the price. But other items that have their AceBucks price closer to their actual value are not so easy to identify.

It’s very possible you will end up buying a “real” item and receive just a picture of it.

There are also a few “questionable” auctions. Auctions for AceBucks lottery or AceBucks raffles where you could “win” more AceBucks should be banned.

Summary

These problems prevent AceBucks from earning any rating higher than 3 stars. It probably even should have earned a 2 star rating. Though I gave it a 3 star because I feel like this application has potential. And maybe you can buy some neat stuff with the AceBucks you earn from playing games. Just don’t cry when all your AceBucks get scammed away from you.

You can work around the real/virtual problem by contacting the buyer about the item (still no guarantee that you’ll be scammed). But eventually AceBucks needs to offer some sort of guarantee on real items if they want this to be legit.

AceBucks also needs to figure out a way to convert AceBucks into USD and vice-versa. I can’t think of anything I’d want to sell for a currency only used to buy pictures.

If they do nothing else but resolve these issues, AceBucks would easily be a 5 star application with the potential of growing larger than their current Facebook scope.

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Roomster

Dec 11, 2007 in 3 Stars, Business, Classified, Facebook

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Looking for a place to rent? Need a roommate desperately? Check out a new app for Facebook called Roomster. It lets you easily post classified ads and search for a room or apartment to rent. In my experience, the best places to rent have always come from word of mouth. I’ve tried using Craigslist, but came across a lot of weirdos in the process. The Facebook platform is perfect for this purpose.

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You can filter your search by multiple dimensions. How many other sites let you actually find roommates by Zodiac? Unfortunately, the the filtering system is a little bit limited and only lets you filter results by a single dimension at a time, so narrowing your search is not a possibility. For example, filtering by “Women seeking rooms”, then “25-35″ returns a bunch of guys between “25-35″ looking for rooms to rent, but no women. Since this site revolves around search, I think this is a significant short coming.

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One thing Roomster impressed me with was the sheer number of results they returned for a roommate search in Los Angeles. The results seem to be current and members active, which is a problem with many websites I’ve used in the past that are cluttered with old listings. Once they add the ability to narrow a search, this is definitely a 4-star app. If anyone’s found a roommate or apt using this service, leave a comment!

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