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Publication numberUS20060211482 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/439,837
Publication dateSep 21, 2006
Filing dateMay 23, 2006
Priority dateJan 22, 2001
Also published asWO2007033122A2, WO2007033122A3
Publication number11439837, 439837, US 2006/0211482 A1, US 2006/211482 A1, US 20060211482 A1, US 20060211482A1, US 2006211482 A1, US 2006211482A1, US-A1-20060211482, US-A1-2006211482, US2006/0211482A1, US2006/211482A1, US20060211482 A1, US20060211482A1, US2006211482 A1, US2006211482A1
InventorsFernando Pimienta, Hugo Pimienta
Original AssigneeFernando Pimienta, Hugo Pimienta
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip
US 20060211482 A1
Abstract
Methods for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on at least one virtual coin flip. Users of electronic commerce place items for purchase in shopping carts and provide payment information, they may pay for or possibly wager for the items with coin flip(s). In cases where the where a user properly predicts correct coin flip result(s), the user receives items without charge. If not, the user pays for the items (or a portion of the items if more than one coin flip prediction is made). A user may challenge another user during checkout and wager the cost of one shopping basket against the other. A wagering fee may deducted by a third party during the transaction. The third party, which may be a different entity than the shopping entity may be awarded a commission by the shopping entity that equals a percentage of the items wagered on.
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Claims(24)
1. A method for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip comprising:
presenting at least one product to a user wherein said at least one product is displayed on a computing device associated with said user;
obtaining a product selection from said user wherein said product selection comprises a product selected from said at least one product;
obtaining a monetary input from said user associated with said product selection;
obtaining an input from said user wherein said input comprises a prediction of a coin flip;
executing a random number generator configured to output a coin flip result;
presenting a virtual coin flip animation wherein said virtual coin flip informs said user of said coin flip result;
providing said product selection to said user to said user if said prediction of said coin flip equals said coin flip result; and,
withholding said product selection to said user and further comprising charging said monetary input to said user if said prediction of said coin flip does not equal said coin flip result.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said user obtains said product selection and is charged said monetary input if said prediction of said coin flip equals said result.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein said coin flip animation further comprises sound of said coin flip including coin rotational sound of said coin flip through air.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein said coin flip animation further comprises sound of said coin flip including ringing when said coin bounces.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein said prediction of said coin flip further comprises a plurality of predictions of a plurality of coin flips and wherein said monetary input is inversely related to a number of coin flips and proportionally related to a price associated with said product selection.
6. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
presenting a second at least one product to a second user wherein said second at least one product is displayed on a second computing device associated with said second user;
obtaining a second product selection from said second user wherein said second product selection comprises a second product selected from said second at least one product;
obtaining a second monetary input from said second user associated with said second product selection;
presenting an invitation from said user to said second user to wager on said coin flip;
presenting said virtual coin flip animation wherein said virtual coin flip informs said second user of said coin flip result;
providing said second product selection to said second user if said prediction of said coin flip by said user does not equal said coin flip result; and,
withholding said second product selection to said second user and further comprising charging said second monetary input to said second user if said prediction of said coin flip by said user equals said coin flip result.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein said second user obtains said second product selection and is charged said secondary monetary input if said prediction of said coin flip does not equal said result.
8. The method of claim 6 wherein said monetary input becomes associated with said second user and said second monetary input becomes associated with said user.
9. The method of claim 6 wherein said presenting said invitation from said user to said second user occurs if said monetary input and said second monetary input are within a predetermined range.
10. A method for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip comprising:
presenting at least one product to a user wherein said at least one product is displayed on a computing device associated with said user;
obtaining a product selection from said user wherein said product selection comprises a product selected from said at least one product;
obtaining a monetary input from said user associated with said product selection;
obtaining an input from said user wherein said input comprises a prediction of a coin flip;
executing a random number generator configured to output a coin flip result;
presenting a virtual coin flip animation with sound wherein said virtual coin flip informs said user of said coin flip result;
providing said product selection to said user if said prediction of said coin flip equals said coin flip result; and,
withholding said product selection to said user and further comprising charging said monetary input to said user if said prediction of said coin flip does not equal said coin flip result.
11. The method of claim 10 wherein said user obtains said product selection and is charged said monetary input if said prediction of said coin flip equals said result.
12. The method of claim 10 wherein said coin flip animation further comprises sound of said coin flip including coin rotational sound of said coin flip through air or including ringing when said coin bounces or both rotational sound and ringing.
13. The method of claim 10 wherein said prediction of said coin flip further comprises a plurality of predictions of a plurality of coin flips and wherein said monetary input is inversely related to a number of coin flips and proportionally related to a price associated with said product selection.
14. The method of claim 10 further comprising:
presenting a second at least one product to a second user wherein said second at least one product is displayed on a second computing device associated with said second user;
obtaining a second product selection from said second user wherein said second product selection comprises a second product selected from said second at least one product;
obtaining a second monetary input from said second user associated with said second product selection;
presenting an invitation from said user to said second user to wager on said coin flip;
presenting said virtual coin flip animation with sound wherein said virtual coin flip informs said second user of said coin flip result;
providing said second product selection to said second user if said prediction of said coin flip by said user does not equal said coin flip result; and,
withholding said second product selection to said second user and further comprising charging said second monetary input to said second user if said prediction of said coin flip by said user equals said coin flip result.
15. The method of claim 14 wherein said second user obtains said second product selection and is charged said secondary monetary input if said prediction of said coin flip does not equal said result.
16. The method of claim 14 wherein said monetary input becomes associated with said second user and said second monetary input becomes associated with said user.
17. The method of claim 14 wherein said presenting said invitation from said user to said second user occurs if said monetary input and said second monetary input are within a predetermined range.
18. A method for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip comprising:
presenting at least one product to a user wherein said at least one product is displayed on a computing device associated with said user;
presenting a second at least one product to a second user wherein said second at least one product is displayed on a second computing device associated with said second user;
obtaining a product selection from said user wherein said product selection comprises a product selected from said at least one product;
obtaining a second product selection from said second user wherein said second product selection comprises a second product selected from said second at least one product;
obtaining a monetary input from said user associated with said product selection;
obtaining a second monetary input from said second user associated with said second product selection;
presenting an invitation from said user to said second user to wager on said coin flip;
obtaining an input from said user wherein said input comprises a prediction of a coin flip;
executing a random number generator configured to output a coin flip result;
presenting a virtual coin flip animation with sound wherein said virtual coin flip informs said user of said coin flip result;
presenting said virtual coin flip animation with sound wherein said virtual coin flip informs said second user of said coin flip result;
providing said product selection to said user without charging said monetary input to said user if said prediction of said coin flip equals said coin flip result;
withholding said product selection to said user and further comprising charging said monetary input to said user if said prediction of said coin flip does not equal said coin flip result;
providing said second product selection to said second user without charging said second monetary input to said second user if said prediction of said coin flip by said user does not equal said coin flip result; and,
withholding said second product selection to said second user and further comprising charging said second monetary input to said second user if said prediction of said coin flip by said user equals said coin flip result.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein said user obtains said product selection and is charged said monetary input if said prediction of said coin flip equals said result.
20. The method of claim 18 wherein said second user obtains said second product selection and is charged said secondary monetary input if said prediction of said coin flip does not equal said result.
21. The method of claim 18 wherein said coin flip animation further comprises sound of said coin flip including ringing when said coin bounces.
22. The method of claim 18 wherein said monetary input becomes associated with said second user and said second monetary input becomes associated with said user.
23. The method of claim 18 wherein said presenting said invitation from said user to said second user occurs if said monetary input and said second monetary input are within a predetermined range.
24. The method of claim 18 wherein said prediction of said coin flip further comprises a plurality of predictions of a plurality of coin flips and wherein said monetary input is inversely related to a number of coin flips and proportionally related to a price associated with said product selection.
Description

This application claims benefit from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/717,078 filed Sep. 14, 2005 entitled, “METHOD FOR COMPLETING AN ELECTRONIC COMMERCE TRANSACTION BASED ON A VIRTUAL COIN FLIP” the specification of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference. This application is a continuation in part of United States Utility patent application Ser. No. 10/055,805, filed Jan. 22, 2002 entitled “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR WAGERING ON A RANDOM CHANCE EVENT” which claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/263,396 filed Jan. 22, 2001 entitled “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR WAGERING ON A RANDOM CHANCE EVENT”, the specifications of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

Embodiments of the invention described herein pertain to the field of electronic transactions and system for earning revenue from participants willing to wager on a predicted result. More particularly, but not by way of limitation, one or more embodiments of the invention enable methods for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip.

2. Description of the Related Art

Known electronic commerce products do not comprise a method of completing a transaction based on a virtual coin flip. For example, there are no known products that allow a user to place items in a shopping cart and wager all or nothing on a virtual coin flip in order to win the items or lose the purchase price or a power of two thereof the items. In addition, there are no known apparatus that allow for two or more users to wager against each other on a coin flip to determine which user pays double or which user obtains their items for free.

United States Patent Application No. 20030054888 pending in the name of inventor Jay Walker and entitled “Method and system to incorporate game play into product transactions” is directed to a method for providing a product in which a selection of a product is received from a customer, a game is selected by the customer, the customer provides his credit card number, the customer plays the game and an outcome is determined. If the customer wins, the credit card is charged a game fee. If the customer loses, the credit card is charged the price of the product.

United States Patent Application No. 20040140352 pending in the name of inventor Jay Walker and entitled “Game presentation in a retail establishment” is directed to a game presentation such as a virtual slot machine is displayed by a display device associated with a point of sale (POS) terminal. The game presentation includes images of products for which product identifying codes are entered at the POS terminal. The game presentation indicates to a customer an outcome of a random process pursuant to which the customer may be awarded a benefit such as a free product, a discount on a product selected for purchase, a coupon or an upsell offer.

United States Patent Application No. 20010044787 pending in the name of inventor Shwartz, et al. and entitled “Secure private agent for electronic transactions.” Is directed to a computer implemented technique for facilitating secure electronic transactions anonymously is presented, wherein a secure private agent establishes a client relationship with a consumer, and mediates communication between the consumer and electronic commerce sites. The secure private agent substitutes internally generated identifiers for personal details of the consumer, completes details of the transaction on behalf of the consumer, authorizes payment, and guarantees the credit of the consumer to the electronic commerce site or a payment processing agent. The secure private agent concurrently monitors internet browsing activity of the consumer and provides its services on demand, or automatically in background mode. While the preferred embodiments are disclosed with reference to credit card transactions, this invention is not restricted to use with credit cards, and is applicable to many forms of transactions which could be completed electronically, for example, auctions, gambling, and anonymous e-mail services.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,442,843 issued to Walker, et al. on Sep. 3, 2002, entitled “System to provide game play for products” is directed towards a method for providing a product in which a selection of a product is received from a customer, a fee to play a game is received, an outcome of the game is determined, the product is provided to the customer if the outcome is a winning outcome, and a portion of the fee is credited to the customer if the outcome is a losing outcome.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,785,661 issued Aug. 31, 2004 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,732,400 issued on Mar. 24, 1998, both to Mandler, both entitled “System and method for a risk-based purchase of goods” are directed to a system and method provides for enabling on-line transactional services among sellers and buyers having no previous relationship with each other. The system includes a financial clearinghouse for receiving a request for goods or services from a buyer and making a real-time determination of a risk classification of the buyer utilizing an on-line repository of credit information. The financial clearinghouse determines a risk-based discount fee as a function of the buyer's risk classification in order to establish a payment amount to the seller from the clearinghouse. If the transaction is authorized by the financial clearinghouse, the financial clearinghouse transmits the payment amount to the seller and transmits an invoice to the buyer for the purchase price of the transaction. The system can also include a broker coupled to the financial clearinghouse for providing an on-line order acceptance and processing capability between the buyers and sellers.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,869,500 issued on Sep. 26, 1989 to Williams, entitled “combination vending machine and amusement game” is directed to a vending machine combined with a separate or integral skill game machine where the combination is arranged so that a user can choose to use the combination in a vend mode or in a “playvend” mode, in which latter mode the player pits his physical and/or mental skill against the skill machine and if successful is rewarded by a free or a reduced cost vend.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,435 issued on Feb. 4, 1992 to Rossides, entitled “method of using a random number supplier for the purpose of reducing currency handling” discloses the use of a Random Number Supplier to execute bets in an Expected Value Payment Method for the purpose of reducing the expected per unit costs incurred in paying and/or receiving a given amount of a commodity. An expected Value Payment Method uses bets to reduce expected per unit costs in two ways. First, expected per unit costs can be reduced for the payer and/or receiver of a commodity by giving the receiver a chance to win a greater amount of the commodity than a given amount, the greater amount having a lower per unit cost than the given amount which was originally to be paid and received. Second, in special situations, certain businesses can offer customers who bet to win a given amount of a commodity a better expected price for that amount than the price offered to customers paying conventionally for that same amount. Also disclosed are Expected Value Payment Execution Systems that make an Expected Value Payment Method practical by preventing cheating in Expected Value Payment bets.

None of the systems or methods listed above include a method for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on at least one virtual coin flip or challenging another user for the value of items in a shopping cart based on at least one virtual coin flip. None of the systems include virtual simulation of an actual coin flip, or include the sound of a coin flip or coin bounce. For at least the limitations described above there is a need for a method for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention enable methods for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip or other game. In one embodiment of the invention users conducting electronic commerce are presented with one or more game playing choices during checkout. The game the user selects varies in accordance with the different embodiments of the invention described herein. A user may, for instance, play one or more variations on a virtual coin flip game. In some cases the user wagers on and attempts to predict the outcome of a single coin flip whereas in other cases the user wagers on multiple coin flips and attempts to predict the outcome of two or more coin flips. In instances where a wager is placed the system allows the user to risk losing the wager in exchange for the possibility of receiving free merchandise (or services). If the user does not prevail or obtain the predicted result the wager is lost and the user must purchase the goods/services. When goods are purchased after a wager the system deducts a commission for facilitating the sale. Funds for completing the transaction with either result are made available or accessible prior to initiating game play. Hence in one case a system operator (referred to as the house) receives the cash lost from the player when the prediction was inaccurate and in the alternative case the house receives a commission for facilitating the sale.

For instance, in an online context users conducting electronic commerce typically collect the goods they wish to purchase in a shopping cart and are then prompted as to whether or not they wish to complete the transaction by providing payment information. The payment information is then secured either by determining if funds are already present in a house account, by collecting credit card information or via some other means of acceptable payment or a promise to make payment. Once the payment information is obtained and the payment is secured, the user is asked whether they would like to pay for the goods and acquire them or possibly wager for the items based on at least one virtual coin flip for example. Hence the user may opt to gamble for the goods to be purchased. In cases where the where the user properly predicts the result(s) of the coin flip(s), the items to be purchased may be provided to the user for free, for a fraction of the price, and may optionally include a shipping charge. In other embodiments of the invention, the user pays for every play even if the user wins. The items may also be paid for by the shopping entity or optionally may be paid for by a third party such as a gambling establishment or house. If the user does not predict the result(s) of the coin flip(s), then the user loses the monetary input wagered.

In embodiments of the invention where the user pays each time for playing even if the user wins, and the winning percentage is 1/2ˆn, (50% chance for one coin flip prediction, 25% chance for predicting a two coin flip prediction, etc.) then the break even amount to charge the user for playing is 1/(2ˆn). In this scenario, a user pays 50% regardless of whether the user wins or loses. If a user plays 100 times, then on average, the user wins 50 times and has in effect paid 100 times but at half the price of a product for a grand total of 50 times the product value. The percentage 1/(2ˆn) is therefore the break even monetary input when the user pays even when the user wins. A wager fee, or percentage added to the top of the required monetary input allows for a margin to be made by the shopping entity or third party hosting the wagering. Alternatively, the difference in amount paid for a product with respect to wholesale versus retail price may be utilized to generate revenue within the system. Any combination of wager fee, percentage or price difference or any other variable may be utilized in order to generate revenue utilizing the system.

In embodiments of the invention where the user does not get charged when winning, the percentage paid for break even is different than that of the previously detailed embodiment. A user may opt for predicting one coin flip to wager 100% of the item to be purchased wherein a win results in no payment for the product and a loss results in 100% payment for the product without delivery of the product. If the user plays 100 times, then on average the user pays 50 times and wins 50 products. Alternatively, the user may opt for predicting the correct result of two coin flips to wager 33.33% of the purchase price of the item. For example, if a user predicts Heads and Heads for the two coin tosses and correctly predicts the actual result, then the user obtains the item for free. If the actual result is Heads and Tails, then the user pays for 33.33% of the item and does not obtain the item. For example if the user wagers 100 times, the on average, the user wins the product 25 times and pays 75 times, the break even ratio in this case is 25/75 which is approximately 33.33%. The ratio of 25 to 75 is 1/3, meaning that if the user paid a monetary input of 1/3 of the product price, then on average the shopping entity would receive the full price on average for the products that were actually won. The ratio in this embodiment is different since the user does not pay if the user wins. Similarly, if the user opts for three predictions and correctly predicts the three coin flip results then the user obtains the item for free, while if the prediction is wrong the user pays for 14.29% of the item (1/7th). Any proportional variation of these ratios is in keeping with the spirit of the invention. For example, the entity displaying the coin flip may adjust the percentages of the product price due based on the number of coin tosses and the product price or any proportional related thereto. For instance, basing the monetary input required for predicting at least one coin toss on 1/(2ˆn−1) results in the ratios stated above where the inverse of 2 to the “n”th power minus 1, where n is the number of coin flips. This is the break even mark for the wager in that one prediction (n=1) entered into the formula results in a ratio of one, e.g., 1/(2−1)=1. For two predicted coin flip results, the formula yields 1/(2ˆ2−1)=1/(4−1)=1/3. This break even percentage may be altered to provide a winning margin to the shopping entity or third party handling the wagering. For example, instead of ratios of 1/1, 1/3 and 1/7 for one, two and three prediction scenarios, a flat game fee or flat percentage may be added to the monetary input required to play in order to create a margin for the house. Alternatively, the margin based on the difference in wholesale and retail value of the product may be used as a margin as well and may be split between a shopping entity and third party that hosts the wagering.

In one or more embodiments of the invention the game interface utilized for game play is configured to execute a set of animated graphical elements representative of each of the virtual coin flips. The virtual coin flip(s) may be animated in one or more embodiments of the invention and may include sound of the coin rotating through the air and/or the sound of the coin ringing when bouncing in order to animate the virtual coin flip as accurately as desired. For multiple coin flips, the coin flips may occur next to each other in parallel for example, or may occur one after the other serially, for example to build suspense. Use of sound creates a more realistic wagering environment and allows for shopping environment to achieve an edge on competitors by providing an exciting environment for users to purchase goods at times for free or for a fraction of their retail price.

The user may also opt to challenge another player during checkout and wager one shopping basket against the other. If the user opts to wager, the user makes a coin flip prediction and the system proceeds to execute the coin flip. In cases where the prediction does not match the actual result the amount of the goods that were to be purchased is deducted from the users account and credited to the shopping entity or third party such as the house and the transaction cannot be completed unless the user pays or plays for the merchandise again. If the user accurately predicts the actual result the user is credited the wagered amount, possibly less a game fee deducted by the house and allowed to proceed with the checkout and purchase of the goods. In one or more cases users may not be required to predict the actual result, but the closest prediction over a series of games is viewed as the actual result. In other cases the actual result is the precise result achieved through game play. If a third party such as a gambling establishment, a.k.a., the house, is handling the wagering and coin flip(s), the third party may be awarded a commission by the shopping entity that equals a percentage of the goods purchased. Multiple coin predictions may be utilized in this embodiment and thereby lower the amount wagered by increasing the number of required predictions. For example, use of a two prediction coin flip scenario results in a 25% or 33% break even point depending on if the user making the prediction pays regardless of winning or pays only when losing respectively. Again, modification of the actual monetary input required is in keeping with the spirit of the invention as previously described in order to create additional revenues.

When challenging other users on line to wager for the purchase of the respectively shopping carts, a user may be presented with an interface showing avatars or representations of other shoppers that are willing to wager for free items. In a virtual shopping environment, representations of shoppers allows for virtual shoppers to meet other individuals and communicate and wager against one another for who pays. Alternatively, other users may be alerted to shoppers that entered a site, even if they have not placed items in their cart so that they may be challenged. This allows a site to drive revenue back into site for people that don't have anything in the cart yet. If a user is challenged, they may determine that they want to wager for an item that they were looking for and proceed to wager for the item if there is a chance that they may not have to pay for the item or if there is a chance that they may pay a fraction of retail for the item. The monetary input paid by the loser of the wager may use the monetary input associated with their shopping cart or with the winning user's shopping cart, i.e., the monetary inputs may be in effect switched in one or more embodiments of the invention.

In addition, web service enabled electronic commerce sites may be configured to allow challenges across web sites. By providing item values and confirmation of payment information, communication across sites allows for electronic commerce sites running alternate web engines to provide their users with wagering capabilities that exist on third party servers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a flowchart detailing an embodiment for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip.

FIG. 2 shows a flowchart detailing an embodiment for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip comprising sound.

FIG. 3 shows a flowchart detailing an embodiment for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip comprising a challenge to a second user.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of an interface displayed on a computing device configured to operate within one or more embodiments of the methods of FIGS. 1-3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A method for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip will now be described. In the following exemplary description numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of embodiments of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to an artisan of ordinary skill that the present invention may be practiced without incorporating all aspects of the specific details described herein. In other instances, specific features, quantities, or measurements well known to those of ordinary skill in the art have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention. Readers should note that although examples of the invention are set forth herein, the claims, and the full scope of any equivalents, are what define the metes and bounds of the invention.

FIG. 1 shows a flowchart detailing an embodiment for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip. Processing starts at 100. For instance, in an online context users conducting electronic commerce interact with the system when the system presents at least one product on a computing device at 101. Any type of computing device that is capable of presenting an image of a product is in keeping with the spirit of the invention. Most computing devices are network enabled and any user interface to the system with a computing device most usually is using a network connection to do so. The users collect the goods they wish to purchase in a shopping cart wherein the system obtains a product selection at 102. The user is then prompted as to whether or not they wish to complete the transaction by providing payment information at 103. The monetary input payment information is then secured either by determining if finds are already present in a house account, by collecting credit card information or via some other means of acceptable payment. Any method of obtaining consideration from the user is in keeping with the spirit of the invention including but not limited to third party payment services. Once the monetary input payment information is obtained and the payment is secured, the user is asked whether they would like to pay for the goods and acquire them or possibly wager for the items based on at least one virtual coin flip. Given that the user chooses to use an embodiment of the invention directed towards wagering via a coin flip, at least one coin flip prediction is obtained at 104. A random number generator is executed at 105 in order to generate the proper number of results corresponding to the number of predictions made by the user. The user is presented a virtual coin flip to show the result at 106. This may occur using a number of technologies including dynamic HTML, Flash, video, two or three dimensional rendered coins or any other method of showing a virtual coin flip. In cases where the where the user properly predicts the result(s) of the coin flip(s) as determined at 107, the product selection is provided to the user at 108. If the user did not properly predict the result(s) of the coin flip(s), then the user is charged the monetary input at 110 and the user returns to shopping at 101. In other embodiments of the invention, the user pays for every play even if the user wins, this is shown in optionally occurring at 109.

FIG. 2 shows a flowchart detailing an embodiment for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip comprising sound. This flowchart shows that the virtual coin flip at 106 a comprises sound. The sound may include the sound of the coin flipping through air or the sound may include ringing when the coin bounces off a virtual boundary, or the sound may include both of these types of sound. Any other sound associated with flipping a coin may be introduced to make the virtual coin flip as realistic as desired. For predictions requiring multiple coin flips, the coin flips may occur next to each other in parallel for example, or may occur one after the other serially, or in any other order. Use of sound creates a more realistic wagering environment and allows for shopping environment to achieve an edge on competitors by providing an exciting environment for users to purchase goods at times for free or for a fraction of their retail price.

FIG. 3 shows a flowchart detailing an embodiment for completing an electronic commerce transaction based on a virtual coin flip comprising a challenge to a second user. In this embodiment, the user may opt to challenge another player during checkout and wager one shopping basket against the other. The product is presented at 101, selected at 102, monetary input is obtained at 103 as per the previously described embodiments. If the user opts to challenge another shopper to a wager, the challenge is presented to the second user at 300 and the user makes a coin flip prediction 104 and the system proceeds to execute the coin flip at 105 and present the coin flip at 106 b optionally with sound. In cases where the prediction does not match the actual result the monetary input amount associated with the goods to be purchased is charged to the users account at 110 and credited to the shopping entity or third party such as the house and the transaction cannot be completed unless the user pays or plays for the merchandise again. If the user accurately predicts the actual result the user is provided with the product selection, possibly less a game fee deducted by the house at 108. Optionally, depending on the embodiment the user may be required to pay at 109 even if winning. If a third party such as a gambling establishment, a.k.a., the house, is handling the wagering and coin flip(s), the third party may be awarded a commission by the shopping entity that equals a percentage of the goods purchased. Multiple coin predictions may be utilized in this embodiment and thereby lower the amount wagered by increasing the number of required predictions. For example, use of a two prediction coin flip scenario results in a 25% or 33% break even point depending on if the user making the prediction pays regardless of winning or pays only when losing respectively. Again, modification of the actual monetary input required is in keeping with the spirit of the invention as previously described in the summary in order to create additional revenues.

The percentages for break even for the required monetary input is determined depending on the embodiment as detailed below. In some embodiments, the items may be paid for by the shopping entity or optionally may be paid for by a third party such as a gambling establishment or house. If the user does not predict the result(s) of the coin flip(s), then the user loses the monetary input wagered.

In embodiments of the invention where the user pays each time for playing even if the user wins, and the winning percentage is 1/2ˆn, (50% chance for one coin flip prediction, 25% chance for predicting a two coin flip prediction, etc.) then the break even percentage of product price to charge the user for playing is 1/(2ˆn). In this scenario, a user pays 50% of a product price regardless of whether the user wins or loses. If a user plays 100 times, then on average, the user wins 50 times and has in effect paid 100 times but at 50% of the price of a product for a grand total of 50 times the product value. The percentage 1/(2ˆn) is therefore the break even monetary input when the user pays even when the user wins. A wager fee, or percentage added to the top of the required monetary input allows for a margin to be made by the shopping entity or third party hosting the wagering. Alternatively, the difference in amount paid for a product with respect to wholesale versus retail price may be utilized to generate revenue within the system. Any combination of wager fee, percentage or price difference or any other variable may be utilized in order to generate revenue utilizing the system.

In embodiments of the invention where the user does not get charged when winning, the percentage paid for break even is different than that of the previously detailed embodiment. A user may opt for predicting one coin flip to wager 100% of the item to be purchased wherein a win results in no payment for the product and a loss results in 100% payment for the product without delivery of the product. If the user plays 100 times, then on average the user pays 50 times and wins 50 products. Alternatively, the user may opt for predicting the correct result of two coin flips to wager 33.33% of the purchase price of the item. For example, if a user predicts Heads and Heads for the two coin tosses and correctly predicts the actual result, then the user obtains the item for free. If the actual result is Heads and Tails, then the user pays for 33.33% of the item and does not obtain the item. For example if the user wagers 100 times, the on average, the user wins the product 25 times and pays 75 times, the break even ratio in this case is 25/75 which is approximately 33.33%. The ratio of 25 to 75 is 1/3, meaning that if the user paid a monetary input of 1/3 of the product price, then on average the shopping entity would receive the full price on average for the products that were actually won. The ratio in this embodiment is different since the user does not pay if the user wins. Similarly, if the user opts for three predictions and correctly predicts the three coin flip results then the user obtains the item for free, while if the prediction is wrong the user pays for 14.29% of the item (1/7th). Any proportional variation of these ratios is in keeping with the spirit of the invention. For example, the entity displaying the coin flip may adjust the percentages of the product price due based on the number of coin tosses and the product price or any proportional related thereto. For instance, basing the monetary input required for predicting at least one coin toss on 1/(2ˆn−1) results in the ratios stated above where the inverse of 2 to the “n”th power minus 1, where n is the number of coin flips. This is the break even mark for the wager in that one prediction (n=1) entered into the formula results in a ratio of one, e.g., 1/(2-1)=1. For two predicted coin flip results, the formula yields 1/(2−1)=1/(4-1)=1/3. This break even percentage may be altered to provide a winning margin to the shopping entity or third party handling the wagering. For example, instead of ratios of 1/1, 1/3 and 1/7 for one, two and three prediction scenarios, a flat game fee or flat percentage may be added to the monetary input required to play in order to create a margin for the house. Alternatively, the margin based on the difference in wholesale and retail value of the product may be used as a margin as well and may be split between a shopping entity and third party that hosts the wagering. Any percentage may be charged with any embodiment in order to create necessary revenue streams.

When challenging other users on line to wager for the purchase of the respectively shopping carts, a user may be presented with an interface showing avatars or representations of other shoppers that are willing to wager for free items. In a virtual shopping environment, representations of shoppers allows for virtual shoppers to meet other individuals and communicate and wager against one another for who pays. Alternatively, other users may be alerted to shoppers that entered a site, even if they have not placed items in their cart so that they may be challenged. This allows a site to drive revenue back into site for people that don't have anything in the cart yet. If a user is challenged, they may determine that they want to wager for an item that they were looking for and proceed to wager for the item if there is a chance that they may not have to pay for the item or if there is a chance that they may pay a fraction of retail for the item. The monetary input paid by the loser of the wager may use the monetary input associated with their shopping cart or with the winning user's shopping cart, i.e., the monetary inputs may be in effect switched in one or more embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of interface 400 displayed on a computing device configured to operate within one or more embodiments of the methods of FIGS. 1-3. Product image 401 is displayed an may comprise more than one product in for example the shopping cart of the user. Any items selected may have monetary inputs associated with them when placed in the cart or before wagering. The product or shopping cart items may comprise text based description or metadata 402. The user can opt to simply checkout using interface component 403, or wager using interface component 404. Alternatively, the user may opt to challenge another user at 405. After deciding to wager or challenge, the user may be prompted for the number of flips to predict. In this example, the user has chosen 3 flips. The embodiment shown may comprise always-pay or pay-only-when-lose embodiments and may comprise any percentage of the total price of the items in the shopping cart, generally but not always a function of the number of flips. After the user chooses the predicted flips using interface component 408, each coin flip occurs sequentially or in parallel with the coin actually flipping up and down the respective area above each predicts flip (as shown with up and down arrows 407). As each flip matches the predicted flips interface component may show the result in a different color or simply not change the prediction. As a flip fails to result in the predicted value an “X” or any other method of displaying a failed prediction may be shown (see rightmost failed prediction with “X” over it at predicted flip interface component 408).

In addition, web service enabled electronic commerce sites may be configured to allow challenges across web sites. By providing item values and confirmation of payment information, communication across sites allows for electronic commerce sites running alternate web engines to provide their users with wagering capabilities that exist on third party servers.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments and applications thereof, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention set forth in the claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7532111 *Sep 21, 2007May 12, 2009Larue Daniel VSystem and method for graphically displaying a coin toss
US7685023Dec 24, 2008Mar 23, 2010International Business Machines CorporationMethod, system, and computer program product for virtualizing a physical storefront
US8031066May 11, 2009Oct 4, 2011Larue Daniel VSystem and method for playing a game based on a coin toss
US8648710Oct 3, 2011Feb 11, 2014Daniel V. LaRueSystem and method for playing a game based on a coin toss
US20120283019 *May 3, 2011Nov 8, 2012Michael VeprinskySystem and method for providing a physical indication of an objective met in an entertainment platform
US20140274252 *Mar 15, 2013Sep 18, 2014Novel Tech International LimitedWide area gaming table system
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG06Q30/02, G07F17/3286, G07F17/32, G06Q50/34, G06Q20/22, G06Q30/0603, G06Q20/12
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G06Q30/02, G06Q20/22, G06Q20/12, G07F17/32P, G06Q50/34, G06Q30/0603