I’d heard a bunch of buzz about the show Deal or No Deal on the Freakonomics blog so when I tuned into catch my first show I was slightly disappointed. I loved the 80s because there were three hours of game shows on three networks every morning (a highlight of staying home sick from school) and my favorite shows always had an element of quiz show in them. So I was surprised to find Deal or No Deal getting all this buzz and being on several nights a week when there’s no skill or knowledge in the game at all — it’s purely luck. I might as well be watching lottery balls drop. I suppose that’s why it’s on so much and advertised heavily — the show is not long for this world, so they have to milk it while they can.
I saw a couple contestants perform well. The goal of the show seems to be: guess on cases until you get a bank offer near $100k, then quit. But I saw one guy turn down a $91,000 offer and keep pressing on, until at the end he had almost nothing. He stayed in the luck game too long, let his greed surpass common sense and came away with almost nothing.
As I was reading danah’s post about Friendster and MySpace I was reminded that Friendster was exactly like that bad contestant. Friendster had something that was hot and now and was fielding buyout offers left and right, but decided to press on. They made a few missteps along the way (danah covers them well) and now Friendster’s like a lone case with $75 in it, not really worth anything to anyone.