Imagine a faucet giving away 5BTC! That’s what Gavin Andreson’s faucet was paying back in June of 2010. It was his first bitcoin-related coding project and he started it off with ฿1,100. At today’s prices, your claim of ฿5 would be worth $50,000!
About a year after Andreson’s faucet appeared, Dragon’s Tale was introduced. This was likely the first multiplayer bitcoin faucet game. Players gather bitcoin from soldier statues dotted around the landscape and by selling herbs they found. Levels are achieved by completing quests, oh and gambling on just about everything. The game is very complex and too much to go into in a short review like this. Here’s a review if you’re interested.
Faucets and Beyond
Nowadays there are probably over a thousand faucets out there, though many are scams and many more offer so little as to be pointless. They were growing exponentially. As people started to realize that they could put ads on their faucet and actually make some money out of them, it changed from pure bitcoin evangelism to a bit of a business.
About 6 months ago Google pulled their ads from most faucets, effectively closing them down unless they could find another source of income. The bitcoin ad networks didn’t pay anywhere near as much as google, so the faucet owners needed to find a new source of income. Some turned to pay-to-click walls and seem to be doing ok, but really these are no different from clixsense, which has been doing pay-to-click in dollars for a long time, as have many others.
Personally I find the pay-to-click middlemen and their survey counterparts to be among the most obnoxious and user-unfriendly businesses out there. Users are treated like crap, sent through multiple re-directs into other sites, subjected to pop-ups and pop-unders, browser hijacking tricks and quite often refused a survey even though they already spent 5 minutes clicking through all the nonsense to get there.
There are multiple resellers, all selling the same surveys and offers, and it’s difficult if not impossible to determine how many middlemen are taking a cut from your work. I’ve seen surveys on clixsense (about the best) offering over a dollar while the same survey on a faucet offerwall only offered 3,000 satoshis!
There’s an opportunity there for someone to step up and cut out all the inept middlemen with their hideous user interfaces to connect up faucet owners directly with the people who want surveys filled out.
Despite all this, there are still great faucets out there, and some are giving hints at possible future evolution. And as bitcoin becomes more popular the bitcoin ad networks will have more money to hand out too, so fingers crossed and maybe soon we will have it all back as it was before google pulled the plug, and without google it will be an improvement.