I was invited to Moola.com the other day. Like usual, I sat on the invite because I figured it was some new dumb Web2.0 thing. But the guy that sent it to me is pretty sharp so I thought I should at least check it out. I've been on for a day or two and I have to say it is one of the coolest business models I have ever seen.
Moola works on a simple idea – double a penny 30 times and you have over $10,000,000. Sounds easy right? Yes. It does sound easy, which is why people will sign up to play. Moola gives you a penny to start. You spend that penny to play another person with a penny. The winner gets both pennies. Then you can play someone with two pennies. Winner gets four pennies. And so on. So where do the pennies come from? Advertisers. You have to watch an ad before you can play. Not only that, but you have to answer a question about the ad. It's an attentive audience. Genius.
You can cash out at any time, which makes me wonder if anyone will ever really reach $10 million. If you have half that, are you willing to make an all or nothing bet to go for the whole thing? Most people probably won't. You can see the last few cash-outs, and they are usually around $200.
The games are part luck and part strategy. A knowledge of game theory will probably help you out. Each game only lasts a few minutes, so the key is to figure out your opponent's strategy and then use that to put yourself in a position of advantage. The first few levels are pretty easy, as some people seem to employ random strategies. But once you get into a couple of dollars a round, the competition is much better.
So is it easy? Well, your chances of winning 30 games in a row are (1/2) to the 30th power, which is… a really big number. But if you understand the games, you can probably improve your odds a bit using a good strategy. I doubt many people will ever strike it rich, but I can see some people making a few thousand bucks from time to time.
If you want to check it out, I have a few invites left. And Moola may give me a few more as time goes on. Send an email to rob-at-businesspundit.com and I'll keep a list of people to invite as I get more, until Moola gets out of beta.
UPDATE: I'm out of Moola invites, and have a list that will probably take me through next Tues or Wed, assuming Moola keeps doling them out at the same rate. But still send an email if you want one and I'll keep a running list of first come first serve.
UPDATE2: Also check out the forums at Moola Gurus for tips, tricks, and strategies.