User Created…Ingame Advertising?

by Steve Bowler on March 9, 2008 · 3 comments

in business

So, last week folks were pissed about the whole kerfluffle of Blizzard announcing there might be some in-game advertising (was rumored in-game, now verified that it isn’t in-game) in the new StarCraft II.

While many gamers registered their distain for in-game ads on their internet locales of choice, something else has been going on in the background, and nobody is really saying anything about it.

People, as in the users of the games, are advertising in-game. And no, I don’t mean people are advertising for gold in WoW or all of the other mundane stuff that only a handfull of people see at any given moment that we’re used to. Actual stores and phone numbers are appearing in games now.

If you take a quick look right this second at the top 10 bands (by fans) on the 360 Rock Band Leaderboard, you’ll see two standout examples:

  • 2). Geppetto’s Secret(559)392-2123 (218,628,304 fans)
  • 11). (158,406,544 fans)

The phone number for Geppetto’s Secret is real. I called it. I wanted to interview them about climbing to the top of the Rock Band ladder, and why the felt the need to include their phone number (it’s so they can have real-world fans, evidently), but it just dumps you into a voice-mail box that they either don’t really keep up with or bother calling back. Who knows if I’m going to get charged some crazy phishing 1-900 redirect charges for calling it or not.

The url re-directs to, a place where you can buy a metal bass pedal for all of you people who can play Perfect Drug on expert.

But what’s amazing to me is that these people have strived to become the top of the top 1% of all bands playing Rock Band in order to get their name on that top 10 (really 11, I see what you did there) board. They invested an insane amount of effort and time in a video-game just so they could advertise something in the top 11 list.

I’m sure Harmonix or EA could shut this down with just a little bit of snooping, but I’d rather they didn’t.

I find it all just a bit too entertaining. Like watching a trainwreck with popcorn. I’d like to see how and where this actually develops.


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