Repost: Interview with mEgo & fatfoogoo: Partners Outside the Gaming World

About three months ago, I had the opportunity to chat with fatfoogoo CEO Martin Herdina and Marketing Manager Dan Taylor about microtransaction and what fatfoogoo does.

Well fatfoogoo has not been sitting around for the last three months as they announced a new partnership with bringing fatfoogoo’s knowledge of all things microtransaction to mEgo’s new avatar store.

This time around I chatted with mEgo’s co-CEO Ariel McNichol and fatfoogoo CEO Martin Herdina. Early thanks to Heather Sorensen for setting up the interview.

What’s the background of

Ariel – mEgo is the first of its kind, and the first outside of the games realm. It’s a social aggregate for online identity, now monetized with the store backed by fatfoogoo technology. mEgos are posted on users pages as a widget, integrated as an app in everything from MySpace and Facebook to Flickr. We found that users are from all different communities and the mEgo is kind of like a trading card.

It automatically updates Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, and will also update YouTube. This way you don’t need different feeds. The way we’re monetizing is to enable users to brand themselves with their avatars.

What’s so exciting is that we were popular and then we decided to release the full-on avatar engine with shopping abilities in the last couple weeks. It’s already showing a lot of traction, items like fairy wings or jerseys. If you look at existing virtual world sales, you see the same pattern.

How did the ideas for the store emerge? How did you find out about fatfoogoo?

Ariel – We were looking at monetization outside of virtual worlds and looking at different numbers in the market. Also looking at things like Facebook Gifts. It became an obvious evolution to monetize our widget. We went around and evaluated how long it would take to build an engine in-house, and decided it wasn’t something we should do.

We asked every investor and adviser and asked if they knew anyone. We looked at five or six companies and got it down to three. fatfoogoo was the best choice for us. They seemed the smartest and the fastest. One major difference was that between fatfoogoo and the others was that all the companies had great technology, but only fatfoogoo has deployed it with great success.

Martin, How did the idea of “leaving” the gaming realm for this type of microtransaction entity appeal to fatfoogoo?

Martin – Basically there are two trends, two drivers. The first, the internal, is more technology driven. The technology is so agnostic that it works everywhere. It could work in a broader industry as well, like the entertainment industry, like charging for a newspaper article. It can support and respond to as many new cases as possible.

The second trend is market perspective. There is a convergence in gaming and social networking. Looking at WoW, which is a game, but the community aspect is so strong. Facebook is introducing gifting and gaming features, making the line between gaming and social networking blurry. mEgo is a community and we’re monetizing the assets of the user base. It’s a great way to leverage our technology.

Is there going to be a difference between the store on the website and the stores on the various social networking sites?

Ariel – There will be a difference, though right now there isn’t one. When you go to buy something, you go to the same storefront, but we’re going to skin them differently. The functionality is there, but we’re finessing the look and feel.

Martin – From a fatfoogoo perspective it doesn’t make a big difference for us. We integrate into the media server using our API and it is totally up to mEgo on how to create the user experience. We’re just the boring guys in the back end, dealing with microtransactions, fraud, and transaction handling.

How many goods are in the store?

Ariel – Right now we have about thirty, but each week we add about ten, depending on the complexity. We are already seeing what’s the most popular and giving the users what they want. And we’re doing this with fatfoogoo technology, and that’s very helpful.

What are the price points?

Ariel – There’s a difference between items; like socks are less than a dollar and a leather jacket is around $2.50. Basically $1.00-$3.00, and when you start you’re already given 900 credits which equals to $0.50.
Heather – There are free items also, aren’t there Ariel?
Ariel – The majority of items are free and we’re continuing to build premium assets.

Is the store live?

Ariel – It’s quietly live now, officially open tomorrow.

What is the ultimate goal between the partnership between mEgo and fatfoogoo? In a way using fatfoogoo, which is more in the gaming realm, into this new social media avatar business where things are getting big, was there a goal?

Ariel – The partnership is an implication of a new model for virtual sales in social networking. It’s virtual sales in the real world, not virtual world experiences. Our goal is to illustrate that by making tons of money. In terms of evolution, we will roll out gifting.

fatfoogoo built a secondary market for us meaning users will be able to sell items, like exclusive items out for a limited time to other users. We would make profit off those transactions through a taxation model. We will also be rolling out a loyalty point system that will help players earn credits. For example, inviting a friend or performing certain actions will result in points. That will be releasing soon.

Martin – We base our focus on core competencies. We could never be creative like Ariel and her team, we focus on the microtransaction piece and work a partnership model to provide technology to users to see what they like, chip features and function based on the user base. All while keeping the requirements of the mEgo user in mind.

I have to thank Ariel and Martin for taking time out to talk with me about the new partnership between mEgo and fatfoogoo. With microtransations becoming a larger model for revenue streams, it’s interesting to see a company like mEgo taking it out of the gaming realm and into social media. And what better partner to have than fatfoogoo?

A huge thanks again to Heather for setting this all up, in less than a day no less!