Google Adwords – what a joke it is!

20 04 2011

I am shocked. Really. Seriously. Few weeks ago I created an ad in AdWords for our newest game – Avalon Legends Solitaire. Of course it had to be approved, which already ruined whole thing. It takes weeks to approve adds and makes the whole thing of tweaking your ad impossible, unless you wish to spend ages on it.

Today I received email from Google that my ads are disapproved. The reason:

Gabling Certificate Required

What? What the hell? Do I look like casino? Here’s my ad:

Avalon Legends Solitaire
Restore the Deck of Nature and save
Avalon. 200 hands. Free trial.

I guess that’s the last time I use Adwords, unless until they seriously improve their service. Too bad, as working with adwords was a good way of improving your ad copy before going “world wide”.

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Know the Holidays

29 11 2010

Have you heard about Black Friday? Or Cyber Monday? I’m sure you’ve heard about xmas though :)

The world has a lot of holidays and you can’t keep the track of each of them, but it’s good to know at least the most common one (for the world) or the most money squeezing ones.

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Basically, people go out to retail stores and malls to buy things. Cyber Monday is online world reaction Black Friday. People spent their money from home.

It’s good to have the list of those holidays and make your marketing up to date. We indie’s don’t need to follow big companies, but at least we can try to get best examples of them. It’s also good to know about holidays because they may get in face of your game launch. I started the launch of Dress-Up Pups last week. I was about to send press release about it until I realized that it’s Thanksgiving day and either nobody is at work or gives a damn about my games. If I sent my PR that day it would probably got lost in dozens of emails by Monday morning when everybody gets to work.

That said, today is Cyber Morning, if you want you can take advantage of it and save 25% on your order of Anawiki Games :D

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The business of games

5 10 2010

Seth Godin made a post about the business of software and I’d love to hear / read similar thing regarding the business of games. Some of his thoughts are related to games too. For sure in casual games we’re in drag dealer model (free trial versions) and those of you that sell via portals are on the platforms where commerce is expected (portals customers pay for their games). But that’s not enough. At least in many cases that’s not enough.

Being portal friendly limits our ways of catching customers. We can’t do much beside the trial version. We can’t even let users create and share content for our games (at least you can’t do it with portal versions).

To raise the prices portals invented premium / collectors editions. Those editions have extra content, which urges customers to buy those games, but there is very limited number of games that can be released as premium editions.

Any ideas how to bust your sales for “standard” games?

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Do you own a business or are “just” a game developer?

5 01 2009

Today I’m in the mood to talk about advertising, so another great quote, this time from the latest Perry Marshall’s newsletter:

If your business is dependent on free customers, you do not have a business. You do not have any kind of “real” business until you have the ability to buy advertising from a variety of available sources and transform that traffic into sales and profits.

Perry specialises in Google Adwords and in this newsletter he talked about free traffic from Google… free thanks to SEO. He points out that if your business relies just on SEO traffic then after another Google Dance you may wake up on page 6 instead of page 1 in search results (or even page 60). And if you don’t know how to buy traffic that converts into sales then you’re running a risky business… in our case you just develop games. Sometimes it’s enough (portals help a lot if you have a great game), but very often is not.

Though even if your strategy relies on free traffic it doesn’t mean you are doomed. Just don’t forget to collect customers informations. When your source of free traffic dries up you can convert existing customers into buyers again (and again (and again))… and if you’re smart you don’t wait until it dries up, you send newsletters already.

Learn the conversion puzzles while you have some money to burn… the best time to do it is after you release your game and get sales peak… when it ends it’s usually too late.

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