Fuzzy Math That Works? TrialPay Says They Can Make Money From Free Products

trialpay_logo.pngMaybe you want to try Skype-out, but don’t want to be saddled with paying for unused minutes if the “VOIP revolution in telephony” isn’t your thing. Well, Mountain View-based TrialPay will let you get a 3 month trial of free minutes by buying something on eBay or participating in any of 129 other partner offers.

The Skype deal is just one example of TrialPlay’s ongoing promotions to help services make some money, while hooking new users and advertisers gain customers from trying something new, while paying for something familiar. The company is working with over 1,500 businesses to let users “pay” for their products by participating in an advertisers program, which range from buying a subscription to the Economist, to trying out anti-wrinkle cream.

While TrialPay CEO Alex Rampell can’t say how much Skype is making off their offers, he did say that “for most of our merchants, we are yielding between 10-100% in incremental revenue. A company like Skype might make $80 on a consumer not willing to buy their $8.85 calling plan”. He went on to say “Skype now yields significant revenue for Staples.com, because people shop at Staples.com in order to get Skype credits for free”. Conceivably, users not willing to buy Skype may be willing to buy enough from Staples to actually generate more revenue than Skype’s purchase price. He made no qualifications about how commonly the over-achieving offers occur, though.

But businesses do have some control over how potentially lucrative the deals are. They can set a minimum acceptable price “MAP” for the revenue generated by offers customers can use to “buy” your product. While it make sense to set the minimum at the price of your good, digital goods can maximize their profits by selling more at a lower price. Regardless of the price, TrialPay always orders the offers in a profit maximizing order based on expected total revenue, with the most lucrative deals at top.