Social UPs games lure in Facebook fans for small businesses with big prizes

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Social Ups Thinker logoHave you been seeing Facebook wall posts from your friends with the dubious offer of big prizes for high-scoring a game? I encountered one last night that promised a free iPad 2 from a Toyota dealer by playing "Bouncing Balls". Google searches revealed no official announcements about this promotion and I worried it was a scam, but the offer was legit after all. Other games and prizes -- such as Sony HDTVs, iPhone 4S, and even an Xbox 360 with Kinect -- are being offered on the Facebook pages of various businesses. All of them are coming from a San Diego-based, social media marketing company called Social UPs, best described as what you'd get if Games And Prizes crossed paths with GamesThatGive.

Games And Prizes is a generic games hub on Facebook that lets players bet on sponsored prizes with currency they earned through gaming. GamesThatGive pairs up socially conscious companies and fundraising organizations with their games, putting a game on the Facebook fan page of a company. But instead of player giveaways, money goes to a charity based on the number of people playing. Companies that have games on their Facebook pages have proven quite successful in driving up their number of fans. After all, fans have to 'Like' a Facebook page to access the goods.
Social Up Tara Gray
A Facebook game that offers big, real-world prizes for play isn't new. PopCap's Bejeweled Blitz used to do weekly drawings, and even handed out a Mazda once. But Social UPs capitalizes this practice by matchmaking businesses to its games, while offering prizes to players. Social UPs' customers currently include RoomStore, The Safe Cig, Vitalyte, Raging Bid, Tara Gray, Casey Jamerson, many local car dealerships and more. Social UPs' game stable includes generic knock-offs of Tetris (they call theirs,"Montris"), Bejeweled ("Gems Swap 2"), and even Pac-Man ("Ghost Man Advanced"). According to AppData, these games are delivered through the company's following Facebook apps: Games and Play & Win.

Tara Gray, who "was formerly Miss Alabama and is currently a host on the Direct Shopping Network", was prominently featured in a video on the Social UPs website promoting their services. She's seen with the Gems Swap 2 game in the background (pictured above). Currently, the prize on her page is an opal pendant and the winner is selected via random drawing, but the contest methods of each company vary across the board.

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For example, the Gem Swap 2 game on Dave White Acura's Facebook page will end when it reaches 200,000 "Likes". Only one person will get to nab "a 42 inch Flat Screen TV", but winning is determined via a random drawing of the top 50 scorers left at the end of the promotional period. Moreover, you've got to be at the dealership building in Sylvania, OH to pick it up.

In contrast, Raging Bid is running their contest until November 21st. They're offering a Sony Bravia 3D HDTV or a $150.00 USD Shell gas gift card. There will be two winners out of the 25 top players. The drawing will not be random, but determined by votes on the company's official fan page. Because of these differences, I recommend that interested players read all the rules very carefully.

Have you come across any of Social UPs games yet? Do you think Social UPs is a boon for small businesses? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment
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