Vodo's Big Brother Bundle Shows How Bundles Can Improve The 'Pay What You Want' Concept

from the a-step-up dept

You may recall Vodo, the website that was set up a few years back to help promote indie films by letting indie filmmakers promote their content for free with a “pay what you want” model on top of it. For a while, they’d either do things like release content episodically once enough money had been raised, or go with a more straightforward “give it away and pray” type of model. Over the last few months, however, Vodo’s founder Jamie King has been revamping the service, taking obvious inspiration from the folks over at Humble Bundle — and the result was recently launched: the Vodo: Big Brother Bundle. If you’re familiar with the Humble Bundle, you’ll get it right away. A bunch of different content is offered together as a bundle in a pay-what-you-want setup, with some content only available if you pay above certain levels to “unlock.”

One neat little innovation is that the Vodo bundles are curated by someone well-known — in this case, former Wikileaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Also, unlike Humble Bundle, this bundle crosses over different types of content. In the Big Brother Bundle, there’s a video game, a film, a book and music, all somehow built around the concept of “big brother” and surveillance. And for the first 10,000 buyers who beat the average price, they also get a free month of the iPredator VPN. There’s some good stuff in there, so check it out.

I spoke with King a bit to see how the Bundle is going, and it sounds like it’s off to a great start. He notes that, with the previous more general pay-what-you-want model for a single offering, the conversion rate was understandably low: around one out of every 2,500 to 3,000 visitors to the site paid. However, with the bundle, the conversion rate is massively better: one out of every seven visitors are paying something. As with Humble Bundle, if you pay more than the “average” price, you get extra content, and that continues to drive the price people choose to pay steadily upward as well. Vodo has added one more feature, with a “premium” price that’s a bit higher, to get even more content, and King tells me about 10% of all buyers are paying above the premium level. One interesting tidbit: you can pay in Bitcoin, if you have some lying around.

King also notes that it might not just be the setup and the model itself that gets people to buy, but the content. He told me that with this model, not only do users of the site appear to like it, but content creators are much more interested in working with Vodo as well under this model, meaning that they can source higher quality content, which in turn, makes for a better experience for users as well. In the first few days since the Bundle launched, it’s already brought in over $15,000.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of what folks over at Humble Bundle have done, and I’ve been surprised that we haven’t seen others do more similar things. Whereas there are tons of crowdfunding sites, we haven’t seen the same explosion of these kinds of timed-bundle offerings — but perhaps that’s starting to change. I look forward to seeing where Vodo goes with this. Oh, and as a teaser, Vodo notes that its next bundle will be the “Surveillance Survival Bundle,” which already sounds interesting…

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Companies: humble bundle, vodo

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Comments on “Vodo's Big Brother Bundle Shows How Bundles Can Improve The 'Pay What You Want' Concept”

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12 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

Looks like a typical race to the bottom, Mike.

“one out of every 2,500 to 3,000 visitors to the site paid”

Hmm. You don’t say what’s so alluring about this “bundle” that gets it up from near zero buy-in to 1 in 7.

“Beat the average of $2.67 to unlock…” — That may yield a profit but it’s not much from 5,613 sales. I appreciate having (presumably) real numbers, but they don’t speak well for your notions.

But as I read it to get the “free” VPN (loss leader for a continuing premium service) there’s some distinction between the above “average” and: “Beat the premium of $10.63 to unlock…”

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Looks like a typical race to the bottom, Mike.

I might as well respond since even though you’ve been reported down to your natural state of nothingness, some people might believe you or have similar incorrect thoughts.

“Hmm. You don’t say what’s so alluring about this “bundle” that gets it up from near zero buy-in to 1 in 7.”

That’s VISITORS, not the number of people who obtain the content. I probably but something from Amazon one out of every 10 times I visit Amazon, if that. Other visits are to check prices, check release dates, get links for my affiliates accounts, etc.

Are you going to claim that Amazon is a failure because people don’t buy every time they visit? Are you saying that any site that doesn’t get instant sales from every visitor is a failure?

“That may yield a profit but it’s not much from 5,613 sales.”

…and you seem to have not understood the actual reasoning behind this offer. Not surprising, since when you’re not attacking corporates in a state of faux activism you reject any effort that doesn’t instantly yield millions in profit.

The reason for this bundle is many fold, but merely “making a profit” is not one of them. Did you even look at what’s in the bundle, or are you so single-minded that you think the only reason people would be offering rare 20 year old video games and political documentaries would be to make a profit directly from sales?

No, the purpose of this bundle is clearly to get exposure both to some content people may not have come across otherwise, and to get essentially free advertising for Vodo, a service of which many people might otherwise have been unaware. It’s exposure for services, exposure for authors and awareness of classic material that was in danger of being forgotten until recently due to copyright issues. Of course, you couldn’t factor in future sales & revenue for Vodo and other services as a result of this advertising into your blinkered thinking processes, could you?

“But as I read it to get the “free” VPN (loss leader for a continuing premium service) there’s some distinction between the above “average” and: “Beat the premium of $10.63 to unlock…””

You’re correct. A demo of a premium service usually is a loss leader (even though you’re attacking one here), and there’s 2 additional products offered at the premium level. Which you’d have seen if you had the intellectual honestly to click through and look at the subject of the article rather than making assumptions, but there you go…

In other words, ootb yet again attacks something they don’t understand, doesn’t to try and comprehend the basic concepts being discussed and attacks people without even glancing at the primary source being discussed. Yet you wonder why people regard you as a liar and a fool.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Looks like a typical race to the bottom, Mike.

The pseudo-veiled protest is epic. I’d say that they are already successful considering how young the project is. They do need some tweaking (I’d start with the site layout) but I’m sure it’ll be a huge success much like HB is.

I’ve come to ignore ootb by default but as I’ve said before sometimes his idiocy generates awesome comments. Nice.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Looks like a typical race to the bottom, Mike.

“sometimes his idiocy generates awesome comments”

Yeah, that’s why I reply and keep reading. Occasionally people like this can be awesome for generating informative rebuttals, citations, etc. I’ve learned a lot from the comments other make, even if they’re replying to a raving idiot.

I do wish we had more people giving genuine criticism, as there’s a lot to discuss from this article. From the political nature of some of the content, to its multimedia nature, to the ways previous models have been refined, to the leveraging of interest to drive other services, to the usage of Bitcoin for something clearly legitimate – there’s a lot for honest commenters to get their teeth into.

This will have to do instead, I suppose.

Adam says:

Just some input

Firstly, to out_of_the_blue, you get the month of VPN if you’re one of the first 10k people to buy the bundle (which at this time there have been a little more than half of that sold). Also, based on the stats given on the site, the average person is paying about $10, not just the beat the average.

The other thing I wanted to comment on was “we haven’t seen the same explosion of these kinds of timed-bundle offerings” mentioned at the end of the article.

Maybe you’ve never really searched but there are a number of them aside from Humble and Vodo, some having been around for some time now. To name a few:
Indie Royale, Indie Gala, Bundlestars, Frenchcows, Groupees, Flying Bundle, etc.

I would say there are easily a dozen or two, and constantly new ones popping up too.

One good place where a lot of them are posted is:
http://steamcommunity.com/groups/IndieBundleTracker

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Just some input

“Maybe you’ve never really searched”

From his comments, it’s clear he’s not even bothered to click on the link for details on this service, let alone actually searched for anything else he wasn’t forced to discover through this site.

It’s easier for him that way – he can base all his comments on blind assumptions rather than reality (if TD only talked about 2 bundles then there must only be 2 bundles!), and he can pretend that the whole concept’s a failure if he hears about this or Humble Bundle not making as much money as they hoped. It’s far easier if he doesn’t let reality intrude.

Thanks for your link though, very handy!

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