Capitalism Means Policing Big Companies

Amazon provides a Send to Kindle for Mac app on their website. This is fraud because it doesn’t actually work and they haven’t fixed it for 3+ years. If they don’t want to make and maintain that app, they should stop lying that it’s available to use. They’re also wasting people’s time.

the app simply does not work. i spent hours trying to work through this issue with support.

save yourself additional headache and uninstall immediately.

amazon does not care that the app does not work, and will not be fixing it.

I contacted the online support, it turned out to be completely waste of time. The support even didn’t know there are Send to Kindle app. on pc and mac. She thought only mobile phone can do the job.

Amazon has had a wide variety of ongoing problems with sending books to Kindles for many years and never seem to get them fixed. There are many examples on the Mobile Read forum like:

The Calibre (ebook management software) documentation has this:

Books sent to the Kindle only show up on the Kindle after they have been indexed by the Kindle. This can take some time. If the book still does not show up after some time, then it is likely that the Kindle indexer crashed. Sometimes a particular book can cause the indexer to crash. Unfortunately, Amazon has not provided any way to deduce which book is causing a crash on the Kindle. Your only recourse is to either reset the Kindle, or delete all files from its memory using Windows Explorer (or whatever file manager you use) and then send the books to it again, one by one, until you discover the problem book. Once you have found the problem book, delete it off the Kindle and do a MOBI to MOBI or MOBI to AZW3 conversion in calibre and then send it back. This will most likely take care of the problem.

That’s ridiculous.

The web, email and Chrome extension options are also missing basic features (like setting the book’s author), leaving a Mac with no fully-functional ways to send files to a Kindle. I think maybe they want using your own books to suck and they want everyone to buy books from the Kindle store, but they also want to lie about that and hide it and pretend to offer good support for reading your own books, which is fraud.

This is a typical example of a big company committing fraud out in the open, but our society just doesn’t have decent enforcement mechanisms to stop them. Also I wouldn’t expect to see anyone else talking about this issue specifically as fraud, but it is. (This problem may not even be in the top 100 list of Amazon’s worst currently-active frauds, so no one caring is understandable in that context. But people largely don’t care about or stop the more harmful frauds either.)

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Article summary: Bloomberg publishes “news” stories with the goal of raising or lowering stock prices. They routinely brag about how much they moved stock prices. They openly, publicly sell early access to know which stocks they will manipulate in which directions so subscribers can trade accordingly.


Mainstream advice about tech startups – written for publication – from a top person in the industry:

  1. You’ve got to say you are a step ahead of where you actually are to move to the step that you want to be at.

This is widespread fraud out in the open. It’s an industry leader telling all the founders to lie.

  1. Investors, most of them, have a herd mentality. They want to invest only if other people are investing

One of the theoretical ideas of capitalism is that it can coordinate the knowledge of millions of market participants. Even if most consumers are dumb and poorly informed, capitalism can take all their knowledge, combine it together, and get a good overall result. Each person adds a little positive value. This is achieved through the price system.

This is extremely impressive and valuable if it works. A million minds are better than a dozen but it’s hard to get a million people to work together. Solving that problem lets you do better than a few central planners.

But it doesn’t work when people have a herd mentality. Capitalism is supposed to take the often low quality, but independent, judgment of many people and coordinate it. But a herd mentality means not having independent judgment. If someone does a little bit of mediocre thinking of their own, there is value there which capitalism can harness. If they just follow the herd, it doesn’t work.

If someone is part of a herd, they aren’t an independent actor whose ideas need to be coordinated with others. They are already coordinated. They’re coordinating themselves to copy others instead of thinking for themselves.

A person in a position to know is saying publicly that investors have a herd mentality (and they’re saying it, not to warn society of a major problem, but just as a minor, uncontroversial tip to founders to help them get funding more easily). Investors are people who, in capitalism, are supposed to be especially well informed and thoughtful – basically their job is to think about how to invest money. (The capitalist idea is that any investors who don’t think well about their investments will soon lose their money and be replaced by better thinkers.) If even most people who are managing a large amount of money are not using independent judgment, who is?

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More fraud.

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So much fraud in sauna sales:


This documentary discusses a bunch of illegal activity (including fraud) by a giant multi-national agriculture company and catches admissions from an employee in India on hidden camera. They do things like pay below the legal minimum wage. They also try to hide the names of the tomato seeds from the people who produce them – so they can buy seeds for $115/kg and then sell them in other countries for $67,000/kg. (Prices might be in dollars or euros; I’m not sure.) They also employee illegal child labor, at least via subcontractors, and I assume directly. When you ask the company for an official statement, they lie. Including they interviewed an official who was saying they reduce child labor at subcontractors as far as possible and got it from 10-15% to 1% … but then when questioned about that admission that they see it as part of doing business that can’t be fully avoided, he started saying they have a zero tolerance policy towards it (so lying rather than considering his company’s actions honestly defensible). His answer to the hidden camera video and other evidence was to just deny it by assertion – he knows it doesn’t happen – with no arguments or explanations to say what’s wrong with the evidence, and no attempt to provide any better evidence.

That’s in the second half. The first half talks about how fruits and vegetables today have a lot less nutrition than they used to. Also, hybrid tomatoes today have a lot less nutrition than heirloom tomatoes today.

Unity appears to be flagrantly violating their written contract with developers, among other problems.

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This video talks about YouTube’s egregious incompetence (or not caring?) about how easily live stream viewers, views and likes are exploited/fake. And some channels viewbot their streams, day after day, and YT just lets them.

But also, YouTube seems to be massively defrauding their advertisers, presumably for years. If you open a stream in multiple windows and the streamer plays an ad, you get shown a different ad in every window and the streamer gets paid for it. YouTube makes it just that easy to cheat their advertisers. You don’t need to connect the windows with different IP addresses or use browser extensions to make them look like different people or anything special. You don’t have to try hard. YouTube just isn’t really trying to stop their advertisers from fraudulently overpaying.

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One of the themes this poster shares is ageism. There is tons of hiring discrimination against older people (e.g. 40+). He said something about that being mostly legal. But even if the government doesn’t specifically prohibit it, I suspect many of these companies have statements on their websites claiming they don’t discriminate in general or don’t discriminate on the basis of age. If they advertise their hiring isn’t ageist, but it is, that’s fraud.

BTW, if you disagree with me about policing big companies, I suggest you read r/antiwork. Just include it in your regular internet browsing for a few weeks. Don’t post anything there; just listen to people’s complaints about companies. If you still disagree with me after that, I’d love to hear your reasoning.

One thing I learned recently from reading r/antiwork is that, besides fraud, another widespread problem is wage theft. Wage theft tends to involve fraud in some way, but it’s also partly something different (theft).

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what we have learned from this [about YouTube]:

for big channels:

  • copyright take down requests are managed by youtube staff themselves and they will ensure the DMCA form has all the required information, evidence, names, everything.
  • they will act as shield ensuring that the copyright claimant will not get any personal info from the channel (address, personal names)
  • they will do everything to protect the big channel and they will take the video down only as last resort if youtube is certain that they will lose in court if sued.

for smaller channels

  • they will accept any DRM requests without verification and they will take down the video and the channel
  • they will not communicate with the youtuber and will show up only if youtuber creates a viral video and gets enough traction online
  • they will force the smaller channel to send personal info to the person sending false DMCA requests which will create a personal threat for the youtuber

If this is true (which wouldn’t surprise me), then YouTube is committing lots of fraud. How/why? I’ll put my answer answer at the bottom, with spoiler tags, so you can think about it yourself.

I think this is a typical example where most people reading the Reddit comment (and believing it) would think “that is bad” but wouldn’t recognize it as fraud. I think being able to see the connection with fraud is important, especially for people with some Objectivist, libertarian or pro-capitalist ideas like wanting a free market that only prohibits force, threat of force and fraud.

If the Reddit comment is true, YouTube is committing fraud because they tell creators that that isn’t their policy. They won’t admit it. They lie. They claim to have other policies, not that. Those lies mislead people about what service YouTube is actually offering and what being a video creator would be like. People then invest many thousands of dollars and hours based on YouTube’s lies, so the fraud is a big deal. And the fraud isn’t accidental.

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This constructive dismissal story sucks. But, as usual, I don’t see any Reddit commenters complaining about fraud. Would anyone find and explain the fraud here?

Fraud - “wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain”, from Google

They are lying about scheduling him and lying to him that he is not essentially fired. Apparently according to one comment their are benefits to having someone on payroll while not paying them as it shows you have good employee retention which the government pays you for. From that same comment, the company may be trying to avoid paying out a clause in the contract where if they fire you they owe you some form of unemployment versus if you quit they owe you no unemployment. The fraud is that they promise the benefits of scheduling and giving you hours and pay and keep telling him that, but instead they lie and don’t do that while gaining the benefits of keeping him on payroll.

The comment I’m referring to:
"It’s so that they don’t have to pay out for unemployment. Instead of letting you off or firing you, they just don’t schedule you and that forces you to quit and they don’t have to pay out for unemployment…

And on top of it many companies are given government subsidies to them for you appearing on payroll for “employee retention”. Make sure you get yourself taken off of payroll!!! Could screw you over at tax time if they haven’t.

Absolutely should be an illegal practice." - kittenspaint
Reddit - Dive into anything

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Yeah. A lot of the times when people do something bad, they also lie about it rather than openly admit it (they at least partly know either that it’s bad or that many people think it’s bad). Sometimes the bad thing is actually legal and doesn’t initiative force, but the lying makes it fraud/illegal.

Here’s another one to look at. It’s pretty long so people may be able to point out several examples of fraud:

EDIT: Here’s the reddit post text (with the numbering broken; it appears to be broken on desktop but not mobile):

[Title:] Guitar center forced customers to donate to their fake charity, they profit $300,000 a day from by refusing them change. They bait customers with jail time. They dock employee hours, dangerous work environment and they destroy instruments instead of giving them away at a discount.

I was regional manger at guitar center for 6 years and worked other roles for longer about 12 years total there.

I will do a deep dive because I think everyone needs to be aware of this at any place they work.

This place is disgusting with all its fake charities and “donations” and docking hours.

  1. During and after covid guitar center had signs up that said “due to the national coin shortage, if you pay with cash it must be exact change or it will be rounded up and donated to the guitar center foundation.”

And if you paid card you would be asked to round up.

Whenever customers would get mad about not getting change they would point at the signs posted everywhere.

If you paid card associates were forced to ask you to round up.

When customers would ask what the charity did everyone had a differ answer because the associates had no idea and higher ups would dodge the question or tell you they give instruments to schools.

This eventually became a metric stores had to hit, if not the store manager would get a write up. Employees are forced to ask if they don’t they get yelled at or written up. A lot of them don’t even know it’s fake and are lied to. Most store managers don’t even know it’s fake.

The goal? $1,000 a day. They have 300+ stores. Some stores would surpass it getting close to even $2,000, lower performing stores $400.

At the end of the day the donations were lumped together with the store money and counted into profits for that day.

How did they get away with this? They would donate about $2,000 a year worth of instruments to about 2 schools.

$2,000 worth of instruments cost them about $900

So they would collect $300,000 a day and donate a total of about $1,800 for the whole year.

$109,500,000 in donations a year and they’re giving out $1,800 from that.

They started this in 2020, the year they had “record profits”. It was from this.

They also did this thing where they told employees they were giving away $1,000 for covid hardship if you wrote them a letter.

They then canceled this a few days letter and sent out a company wide email saying “We did not expect the amount of entries we got and since we can’t give it to everyone it has been cancelled.”

  1. Many years ago around 2015-2016. They asked customers to donate clothes to send “to countries in need”

This was a lie. They boxed them up and sent them to the repair techs at all their stores and told them to cut them up and used them as rags on customer guitars. These were old shirts with stains and rough material that would damage peoples guitars.

All this to cut cost on rags which cost them maybe $50 every 4 months per store.

Customers eventually had an issue seeing the weird scraps of random shirts so we we’re told to pull the plan but some store managers didn’t listen and continued to use them to cut cost. Higher ups tried to make it seem like it never happened.

  1. Also introduced around 2020 was “progressive leasing”

It is their no credit option.

If you get rejected for the store credit card, you can get progressive leasing.

Employees get in trouble if you don’t want to buy the extended warranties. It is a metric they get written up for.

As well as credit card applications

No credit? No problem.

All you have to do is pay $79.99 to apply and you can buy anything you want in the store.

If you don’t pay it off within 6 months the interest goes to 25%. They don’t explain this that way, they make it seem fine on the application.

Well what if you don’t pay it at all? Jail. You will be arrested for theft or a warrant put out by progressive leasing. It doesn’t tell you any of this. Most customers are starving musicians and fall into this.

  1. No breaks & Docking hours. If you are scheduled to 5:00pm and you clock out at 5:05. A manager will trim the hours back to 5:00. Most people don’t notice and if they do managers play it off as a computer mistake and just put it back to where it was. Sometimes no breaks are allowed but a break will be discounted from pay.
  2. They are one of the lowest paying companies even higher ups are paid terrible all the way up to the Vice President they would make 3x more at any other company.

Pay for entry level? It was $8/hr but states that raised their minimum wage it went to $10 and has remained there. They usually pay about 25 cents over the local minimum wage for entry level and $2 over for entry management.

  1. Non-compete, you can not get a second job to make more money in anything even closely related. If they find out you will be fired for working for a competitor. Example for their lessons instructors this is hard because they may already work at a private school and guitar center only gives them 1 or 2 hours a week or the repair people can’t even work on things outside of there.
  2. Unsafe work environments, employees injuries are daily. Amplifiers falling on people’s heads, broken bones because they refuse to provide proper shelving.

All types of muscle injuries from pressuring employees to carry heavy equipment.

Not to mention the deranged customers that physically attack the employees, pull guns on them, threaten mass shootings.

This happens daily across all the locations. Swat team has to come into a location at least once a month.

  1. Sexual harassment is through the roof. I can not even begin on that one.
  2. If an instrument is damaged and cost more to repair than what they bought it for, it is set to be thrown away, your must make it unusable before throwing it away. So every so often employees get to take hammers to instruments, throw them off a second floor, smash them etc.

If there is still functioning parts on the instruments, employees can not have them even a single screw. If caught, you will be fired.

Broken products are knowingly sold. They’re sent to be fixed as cheaply as possible then sent back and passed off as new

I don’t know how to wrap this up so if you made it this far, I guess ask me anything?

Edit: I forgot to add that a lot of small “mom & pop” music stores are also owned by guitar center under music and arts and they keep the mom & pop shop name and operate under it. The only way to check this is in green screen (the system guitar center uses in store)

For those of you who still work there if you’re curious pull up store directory in green screen and scroll through them specifically ones near you and you’ll start seeing addresses and store numbers you’ve never heard of

I’m going off the order and structure of the original reddit post. Also I did ctrl + f on the comments and put in “fraud” and only three people are talking about fraud and it only deals with the money and charity stuff, nothing else.

1.) They defrauded their customers by telling them that their donations were going to charity. While it is an issue with a lot of charities of how to properly pay the people running the charity. Giving away 0.001% and pocketing the rest isn’t an issue with a poorly run charity. They just aren’t a charity, they aren’t doing any activities in any meaningful manner of what they said they would do.

Also, the poster mentioned how they were willing to give away $1000 to employees and then reneged on that promise when they got too many letters. I wonder if they were going to pay out from their music foundation stuff. From my vague understanding of the law this is just bad behavior since courts don’t enforce contracts where their is only one side giving value. Contract enforcement requires both sides to give value.

2.) They defrauded people by telling them the clothes they were donating were going to countries in need. When in fact they were going to the company to save on costs. Also after a quick google search I presume the rags were for cleaning the guitars and stuff at the repair techs. While most customers probably don’t have a clear idea of what those techs are doing, you expect a company (and I assume they tell their customers that everything is fresh and new) to use quality material. They probably advertise quality material. Those customers are getting defrauded when repairing their guitars because the quality of the donated material was so bad that the poster said they were damaging peoples guitars.

3.) When looking up progressive leasing, this company comes up: It seems to be a company and not a different type of leasing. BestBuy seems to work with them to. If you go to their FAQ from BestBuy they say they charge no interest rates and in their FAQ they make it sound simple to return and sort out non-payment issues. The poster says they send out an arrest warrant for non-payment. However, the bad part in all of this is lying about interest rates, approving people who clearly cannot afford it, etc. Since progressive leasing is lease-to-own. It is stealing if they fail to pay and are not returning the product back. They may be lying about interest rates if the poster is correct and that is fraudulent. Though most people are bad with this stuff even if you do inform them well. They’d still sign regardless.

4.) They are lying about computer issues. They are defrauding their employees by saying they will pay you for all your labor when in fact they are only paying their employees for most of their labor. Employees are tricked that this is a here and there computer issue and that they are getting paid for all their labor

5.) Who’s paid well then? I guess by implication the president/CEO is the only one who gets paid even remotely well for the size of the company?

6.) Is this actually that bad? I think the bad part here is how employees are in a non-compete agreement but their current employer does not pay them enough. Maybe there was even fraud here and the tutors and techs signed the agreement because they were assured there would be enough lessons and repairs coming through to pay for them. Just on the face of it, however, it makes sense to me why a company would have some non-compete stuff due to stuff like trade secrets and what not.

7.) The fraud here is that employees are told and assured that they have safe working conditions and they do not.

8.) :frowning:

9.) I don’t know what to make of them breaking stuff so people don’t take stuff for free. I feel like its a non-issue most of the time but I can see why a company would want to do it such as maybe employees intentionally creating waste just so they can take something. Though I wonder with businesses that don’t do such things if that’s a real issue they run into. Them selling broken stuff as new instead of refurbished is fraud.

I disagree that it’s legal to break their promise about the $1000.

First, writing a letter is giving value. Most people aren’t very good/fast/experienced writers. It could take them over an hour of high effort to write a letter. A perfectionist might take over ten hours. I don’t think you can offer money in return for a lot of work, then back out after lots of people do the work.

Second, the employees also give value by doing work for the company. They could reasonably have interpreted the $1000 as a perk they’re getting as part of their employment, not an unrelated, arbitrary perk. Employment was a condition of getting the perk, which makes it seem like it’s in return for being an employee, not in return for nothing. It’s common to give perks to employees to raise morale, to get away with lower wages, to get tax breaks, so you can brag about those perks to people you might hire, and for other reasons. I think those perks are and should be legally binding, once offered, even if employees aren’t required to do any extra work to get the perks. (How to cancel/change perks is another topic, which I think is often handled poorly, but anyway just cancelling it after a few days and never paying anyone isn’t reasonable; saying there are lots of letters so the offer now expires in a month sounds much more reasonable.)

Third, companies sometimes do giveaways/contests for customers. They can’t back out because too many customers take them up on the offer. I think companies should be (and generally are) held to a higher standard for how they treat their employees than for how they treat customers. Employees can reasonably expect to be treated at least as well as customers, not screwed over when customers would not be screwed in a similar situation. One reason is the employees are providing a lot more value to the company than the customers are. Another is the company is in a much better position to abuse/mistreat/exploit/harm the employees than the customers (it has more power and control over them). Also, those contests often have a “no purchase necessary” clause, and I think they’re still binding anyway – the company can’t say “well you didn’t give us anything, so we can back out”.

Also, in general, contracts are enforced much more strongly and literally on sophisticated parties like big companies with teams of lawyers. They get way fewer opportunities to get out of it. That makes sense. If an poorly educated laborer signs an exploitative contract that he didn’t understand, where he has to give a big company $1000 for basically nothing, then it often makes sense for courts to overrule that contract. The company’s lawyers tricked him (it often involves some kind of misrepresenting the contract and therefore fraud, btw). But it generally wouldn’t make sense for courts to protect the big company from the laborer. The company had highly paid executives and lawyers who knew what they were doing (or should have) before making an offer. Pleading incompetence and not understanding the contract, and it being too one-sided against you, doesn’t make a lot of sense when you wrote the contract on your own initiative and had your lawyers and highly-trained/educated company leaders look it over. Similarly, when two big, sophisticated companies do business with each other, they expect the other company to keep to its word and take responsibility for what it says, since they have the budget and expertise to do that. Laymen can make excuses about unfair contracts and being taken advantage of, but big companies generally shouldn’t be able to make those excuses.

BTW, I see a lot of posts on r/antiwork where a company made a clear offer then broke their word, including about really important stuff like how many dollars per hour someone would be paid. And the attitude in replies is often basically “if they didn’t put it in writing, there’s nothing you can do”. I don’t know how true that is in practice, but verbal contracts often should be binding! But commenters are often very aggressive about recommending complaining to HR, complaining to the government or lawsuits whenever there’s a paper trail, and are like “learn your lesson and get a paper trail next time” when there isn’t, and I find it kind of strange how much they think paper trails matter because in principle it makes little difference whether an offer was in writing. I don’t think the communication medium used for a contract is a primary issue. I also don’t think lying about what you verbally promised an employee is easy to get away with if anyone questions you and you have to keep your story straight, and you also have to make sure no one else overheard the conversation and there were no cameras recording. And people often don’t want to lie, or want to limit how egregious their lies are, because they have some morals and/or care about their reputation and/or don’t know if the employee recorded the conversation on his phone (or has saved texts/notes/tiktoks/etc documenting what was said which will make his story more credible).

BTW, here’s an example of a documentary about a big company (Pepsi) trying to get out of providing a contest prize (a jet) advertised to the public. I won’t spoil what happened here but I have some opinions I might share if anyone watches and discusses it.

Here’s another example of companies acting badly for someone to analyze:

Many grocery store products are smaller/lighter than labelled, which is fraud:

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Example of governments failing to enforce laws that I think the majority of libertarians are in favor of:

I went to the Google Play store and looked at the Hero Wars: Alliance trailer myself and I’d disagree that, at least from the gameplay trailer on the play store, that it is mostly false advertising versus completely false advertising (as he says around the ~1:30 mark). When you are presented a gameplay trailer you are expecting to see actual gameplay of said game. You can show a mini-game in said trailer and even have a trailer that focuses just on the mini-game, so long as that is made clear. Watching the trailer, however, their is nothing to let you know that this is not the core game being shown. It is completely false advertising. Just because that aspect of the game exists somewhere in the actual game does not change the fact that the trailer presents itself as the core gameplay. Interestingly enough, the picture slideshow of the game on the play store does mention that the stuff they primarily advertise is a mini-game. I wonder if it was because of the video?

Around the ~4:30 mark he begins speaking of the difference between the typical video game advertising model and the mobile game advertising model, and says that (hand transcribed with the help of auto generated subtitles)," Mobile games have discovered a new formula. See for most video games. I’m talking traditional triple A franchise offerings or even indie pc titles from small studios. For most video games the advertising formula works like this: create a product, advertise the product and target customers who might be interested in what the product actually is. now to be clear this can absolutely involve deceptive practices think back to something like Anthem or the division and how those games were portrayed at the likes of e3 those were particularly egregious examples but you get the point. The basic foundation still exists where the product you make has to be advertised for what it is rather than something completely different. You can’t make a third person looter shooter, just as an example, and then play footage of the Sims to get customers. It just wouldn’t work. However, in mobile gaming for some reason, there’s no easy way to say this, it does actually work."

I partially disagree with his framing of mobile advertising. Mobile games do show a product you want. The way they advertise is to show people something they want to play, that’s how they get people in the first place. The main difference to me between the two is that mobile games focus completely on getting people into the game and then using predatory tactics to keep people addicted to the game and keeping them spending money while the typical game focuses on selling the game. The way they are advertising is no different. Mobile games have not found a different formula in advertising. They are just selling a completely different thing altogether. They are selling a predatory product that aims to have you spend as much money as possible while keeping you addicted. I feel like the reason why this doesn’t work with typical games is that mobile games are free to play, while AAA and indie games typically are not, so this means you have an easier time getting people to play your game. Also I feel like part of the mobile games success in proceeding like this is due to the fact that because they are free to play their is probably less scrutiny given to false advertising and what not. After all while you were mislead into what kind of game this was, you weren’t necessarily defrauded out of money. Regular games couldn’t afford something like this because most people would take stuff like that much more seriously because you paid for a completely different product than what you expected. With mobile games you are tricked into playing something you never intended but for a lot of these games by the time you’re paying money you are actually playing the main game. I think the reason the formula works is because the games are free to play and by making the product as addictive as possible.

Here’s a video where a CEO of a mobile game company goes through trips and tricks on how to best monetize your mobile game. It shows that a lot of the focus when it comes to mobile games is not making a good product but instead creating a predatory product to get money from people. Around the ~18:00 minute mark he warns against making a game to skill based simply because people will realize their is no reason to pay you. I think the presentation is pretty well put together and easy to listen to and follow. I didn’t realize how much of the design in these games is that intentional in getting me to spend money. I used to play Dragon City and remember spending a lot of money. I think I spent around ~$400?