You must have been through Facebook‘s virtual gift shop (based on credit based system) which was opened last year, October. It’s one of the ways, Facebook monetize itself. Today, Facebook changed few things in their virtual gifting credit system.

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…now we want to simplify the use of those credit by taking away a zero from gift prices. Beginning tonight, the majority of gifts will require 10 credits to give rather than 100. To match this change, we are updating any outstanding credits you have by the same proportion. This only affects the way credits are calculated; you will still be able to buy the same amount of gifts as before. Now you can continue to purchase credits, now priced at 10 credits for $1.

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That’s the surface story if you want to ask me. Yesterday I wrote a post wherein I mentioned different ways for social network to monetize and also a special mention about a Chinese social conglomerate, TenCent which has been doing great job monetizing via virtual goods. The reason I’m highlight this virtual goods way of monetizing is simple – you make money from a very low marginal cost game with high gross margin topline.

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So where does Facebook new Credit based system help in this story? Simple analogy – psychological pricing to some extent. For example, a $19.95 item drives demand greater since it catchy and provides a psychological value-for-money based buy. Similarly, when Facebook lowered its virtual gifts from 100 credits to 10 credits for $1 USD, it makes more sense for end users since its more meaningful as the base credit price comes down and the psychological barrier of 100 is removed to 10 which is a lower denomination.

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Though this may look quite trifle in the grand scheme of things in social networking space but the way I see it, these small sutble changes will make more impact than just mercilessly adding users which is anyway costing Facebook $20 million to $25 million alone on the space that houses its servers and no sizeable monetization system.

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