I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now: after seeing the latest story in the Scrabulous legal row, I strongly believe that Scrabulous can only be good for Scrabble’s brand equity. Shane Richmond, the Telegraph’s tech ed has already argued that Scrabulous could have been partly responsible for increased sales of Scrabble board games, by effectively doing something that Hasbro’s’ marketing team should arguably have thought of in the first place; namely, making a social media version of their own game and giving a connected global community of global fans a platform from which to play each other and build positive word-of-mouth about the Scrabble brand.
And here are the Agarwal brothers throwing them a freebie!
If I was Hasbro’s CMO, I’d want to acquire Scrabulous and pay the Agarwal bros to create more games that are deliberately closer to the original brand. I’d use Facebook as my initial seeding ground to grow my community and suck them all off onto my proprietary social network by informing the Facebook gamers about nationwide and global league Scrabble champion competitions on my home-grown network. I really think they’ve missed a trick. Here’s another story looking at how Hasbro’s decision could really negatively impact their business.
I suppose what I’m suggesting is fairly similar in terms of logic to this story; which puts forward the idea that in some limited instances, small levels of intellectual property infringement may arguably be beneficial to a large brand in the longer term.* Although in this case the benefit isn’t about being able to price your product at higher levels, and more about getting someone else to build new and younger groups of game enthusiasts for you.
*I’m not an advocate of software piracy myself, though