In 2007 English rock band Radiohead released their new album “In Rainbows” as a digital download with a “pay what you want” model.
Downloaders were presented with a list of recommended price points, each increased price added more value (eg. higher bitrates, vinyl album). One final pricing option asked fans to name their own price for the album.
At the time, this pricing model was heralded as innovative and ground breaking for the floundering music industry.
In 2011, the independent gaming industry’s Humble Indie Bundle added innovative psychological components to Radiohead’s 2007 “pay what you want” model.
The Humble Indie Bundle’s checkout page (screenshot below) has two fields that you normally don’t see on “pay what you want” checkout pages.
Are you average or above average?
The pricing field displays pricing options with a twist.
Two additional fields list the “average price” and the “above average price” with the above average price being $1 more than the average price.
This is interesting because it utilizes what’s known as the “above average effect” or more specifically illusory superiority.
In short, some people feel they’re above average people, and this not-so-subtle display of the average and above average price points attempts to appeal to those people.
Control your contribution
The second field gives buyers control of the profit distribution.
Buyers use the sliders to slice up their payment and reward people according to their own specifications. Or, alternatively, they can simply use the default split.
This is another interesting technique because it gives the buyer full of control of their payment before the purchase. This control of profit-sharing and price transparency allows the buyer to take ownership of their purchase.