Zynga Offers Customers Who Waste Their Lives Playing Its Games Up to $24,000 Today

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Today, FarmVille crops yield real cash
It ain't been a great week in the press for Zynga, the San Francisco-based creator of popular online games such as FarmVille. Last Wednesday we published a cover story in which ex-employees dished on Zynga's allegedly "evil" practice of copying competitors' games. Shortly afterward, ValleyWag broke the news of a little-publicized "Platinum Purchase Program" designed to entice the sad legions of Facebook-game addicts to spend $500 or more on virtual goods in Zynga games.

Well, if you count yourself among those legions, this week brings some welcome good news. Sort of. In a characteristic marketing flourish, Zynga is putting on an "8-Game Challenge" today. The "challenge"? Play eight social games -- among Zynga's titles are FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Cafe World, YoVille, and so on -- within the space of an hour. If you do so, you can be entered to win a $1,000 prize. The deal repeats every hour through midnight.

Here are all the rules. Make sure you read them carefully. For instance, contestants automatically grant Zynga the right to share some of their personal information for advertising purposes, including one's "name, photograph, likeness, statements, biographical information, voice and city and state address." Yikes.

If this promotion sounds like a tremendous effort to sap the productivity of the human species, well -- so is most of what can be classified as the social-media industry. It is interesting to see Zynga offering its customers real, cold, hard cash for once, given that the company has built a tremendously profitable business on sucking said cash out of its users in exchange for virtual goods online. Good luck to all the competitors who accept this challenge, and don't forget to buy a sheaf of lotto tickets on your way home.

Image   |   Sabrina Dent

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