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Spiffbox entices users with cold hard cash

Arizona-based Spiffbox is launching its new social network, which encourages users to engage in activities such as messaging, chat, and photo sharing, in exchange for actual cash.

Spiffbox is looking to shake up social networking by rewarding its users with cash for participating. Recognizing that today we are inundated with friend requests, messages, and e-mails, Spiffbox supposed that people could be motivated to respond quickly by offering a financial incentive for doing so.

Spiffbox utilizes Facebook Connect and Twitter and is meant to build on top of pre-existing social networks instead of trying to build their own unique user base. Instead of trying to be another communication platform for you and your friends, it is intended to help you engage with people outside of your social graph. The focus here is on expert advice as well as career promotion and advancement.

In Spiffbox's system, the person sending a message or friend request has to spend points, which can be redeemed for cash, and the receiver gets points for responding. Users are given a set number of points when they sign up and can earn more by responding to messages, completing offers, or purchasing them. At this time, all of the actions on the site have a fixed cost, but Spiffbox is playing around with the idea of letting the sender define how much money they want to attach to a message. Obviously, if there is more money attached to a message, then the recipient will be more inclined to respond.

Spiffbox's friend invite, detailing the effects of accepting the request. Screenshot by Harrison Hoffman/CNET

Spiffbox has some really interesting concepts behind it. We are starting to see a trend of social-networking sites rewarding users for their actions. In September, Vreebit launched their version of the concept, but it awards items (electronics, books, etc.) as opposed to cash like Spiffbox does. There could be a real future in this space.

I am impressed by the thinking behind Spiffbox, however, I fear that some new users might find it to be too complex and intimidating. Once the site irons some of its kinks out and becomes a little more user friendly, then we could start to see some real widespread adoption.