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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Moola.com - A Web2.0 Gambling Site

Moola.com is a new web2.0 company out on the market aiming to take over your life. The premise of Moola is that you can start with one penny and walk away with 10 million. At this point you're probably thinking that I'm yanking your chain, but check it out for yourself right here (I'm not totally off my rocker). I first read about Moola at TechCrunch, a great blog that highlights new web2.0 companies. The specific blog post that talks about Moola can be found here.

Each user starts with $0.01 and can play against another player on the network for a predetermined amount. The premise is that if you can win 30 times in a row, doubling your money each time, you will have made a little over $10,000,000. I remember this math problem from elementary school where my teacher offered us the opportunity of taking $300 to mow a neighbor's lawn or get paid one penny which doubles every day we mow the lawn. Of course every one of us was tricked and said we would take the $300. The one thing to remember though is that as you bet more, you play against more experience players, some players have been members since November 2005. All of the money you come across in Moola is supported completely by advertising and don't worry if you lose all of your pennies, Moola is nice enough to give you a free penny for watching an ad.

Now you might be asking how they could afford to pay people to play video games and the answer is ... advertising. This has been the model for many new internet businesses. In addition to traditional text adds, Moola also makes money from video advertisements. When you want to play a game, Moola serves up an ad and you are required to correctly answer a question about what you saw. All of the times I've played, the commercials have been from YellowPages, Orbitz, or Dell. Requiring the user to answer a question about the advert really forces you to watch the commercial and since then I haven't been able to get these companies out of my mind. Once you finish the ad-quiz, Moola searches its network for others who have bet the same amount that you have and match you to a competitor.

Right now the website has two games, Gold Rush and Ro-Sham-Bo-Fu, both developed for Moola exclusively. Gold Rush is a 2-player game in which both players bet on gold pieces to amount a larger pile of gold than your competitor. Ro-Sham-Bo-Fu is a twist on the Rock-Paper-Scissors game we all played as kids. The winner gets your money so place your bets carefully. Moola says that they plan to roll out more games as the service grows and it seems logical that they want to get other game developers to showcase their games on Moola.

Since Moola is currently in public Beta, the service is available by invite only. There are two ways to get an invite to Moola. The first way is to submit your information on Moola.com and when they expand the service they will send you an invite, this is how I got my invitation. The other way is to get a member of Moola to send you an invite. My username is nanoguy and if you're interested in an invitation leave a comment in this post, I still have a few left.

Part of the benefit of inviting members is the multi-tiered referral network that is built into Moola. When you refer a user, you get 4% of any money they cash out for a year. If that person refers someone else, you get 3% of what they cash out for the next year, and so on. This can work to your benefit if you invite the right people because four percent of 10 million is $400,000. That much green would surely help pay off some student bills.

Moola is a good idea that could become very popular if done the right way. We'll just have to wait and see if the people behind this are able to pull it off. For now the real test is if they can keep our interest for more than 5 seconds, they've got mine.

Moola like every other company in the digital world maintains a blog where you can read news related to Moola's development and progress. In addition to the TechCrunch article on Moola, I have come across a bunch of other articles on Moola:

As always, let me know what you think of Moola and if you've got anything new and interesting that should be covered here. Now go play for pennies and don't come back until you've got 10 million dollars!

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