Amazon announced today its own virtual currency system called Amazon Coins. In true Amazon fashion, the company is going big by giving away “tens of millions of dollars” when the virtual currency launches in May. Amazon Coins can be used to buy apps, on in-app purchases, and games on the Kindle Fire. The coins will be available in the US only at first and will not be available for subscriptions. Customers who do not wish to buy apps with Amazon Coins can still purchase outright with credit cards.
We love virtual currency
MiKandi is happy to welcome Amazon to the virtual currency world. When we were rebuilding our app store 2 years ago, we thought long and hard about how to tackle payments. Being a tech company that sells adult content, many services were restricted. From newsletters to payment options, our usual course of action was to build it ourselves. On top of that, at the time it was very hard for developers to make money in the Android Market compared to iTunes. Something wasn’t working and we were dead set of figuring out what that was.
We came to the conclusion that we had to think about this problem differently. The question we found ourselves asking, often, is: How do you build an app store that exceeds the current options and really resonates with consumers? We looked to the gaming industry for leadership and discovered that consumers understand and accept points-based systems with rewards and purchases. From an app store’s point of view, virtual currency makes it easy to provide customers with outstanding customer service. Download an app you really don’t like? We can simply refund your MiKandi Gold for you to spend on something you do. No hassle, no delay. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. That, coupled with our industry leading customer service, has led to our remarkable chargeback rates, something that has plagued the adult industry since the advent of online purchases. Our chargeback rates are so low, we’d hazard a guess that it would make non-virtual currency supported app stores raise their eyebrows and stroke their chins.
Imitation is the best form of flattery
We have to ask, “What took you so long, Amazon?” When MiKandi launched MiKandi Gold, our virtual currency system for paid apps back in 2010, we were the first virtual currency powered mobile app store. A few months later, we launched full support of KandiBilling to Android developers, our in-app billing API, 1 day before Google Android. There’s something to be said for small teams- we move fast. Our mommies taught us to share our software, Amazon. Next time, ask us and we’ll let you play with our toys.