I will be hosting a large party soon, and with the middling reception at my house the inevitable “Can I get your Wifi Password” will come up a dozen or more times. After doing some research I found that there is a Wifi QR spec that all Android phones use (I’m not sure about Apple) so the plan is to print a not-so-classy QR code and put it somewhere prominent. It’s not beautiful, but it is better than just scribbling down the WPA key. But then I found a better, more classy way to go: NFC tags.I should point out that this Evil Business Plan is not my own, but I am so impressed with the monitization niche that it deserves full marks.

The app is called InstaWifi and can be downloaded for free for the Google Play store. It lets you enter the credentials for a Wifi access point and generate a QR code and/or write to an NFC tag. From what I can tell they are first to market, getting some positive press, and has postly 5-star ratings.

After playing with it for a minute or two any user would want to try out writing to an NFC tag. Unfortunately I don’t have any in my drawer. In fact I’ll bet that very few techies do since they are so new, but most will have several laying around in a few years. So how do I get some? I could go to a brick-and-mortar and pay $5 each. I could go to Amazon and get a set of 5 for $20. I could go to eBay and save a few bucks, getting a set of 5 for about $7. Or I could click the heart button in the app.

This brings up a donation screen. It is a typical donation pitch asking from $2 to $10. It is easy to dismiss and won’t pop up unexpectedly upon starting/stopping the app or at random times. It is simple a pitch, with one twist: If you donate $4 or more, you get a blank NFC tag. $6 gets you 2 tags, and $10 gets you 4 tags – as a “tank you gift”, not as a sale.

All users will want an NFC tag. The author has given the users a simple way of ordering one or more, at a reasonably competitive price, and at the same time creating the good will feeling of donating to an application author.

It is a traditional give-away-the-razor-to-sell-the-blades technique. Except the software has no distribution or per unit costs making it even better as the loss leader, and whereas the blade manufacturers had to patent and copyright every aspect of their product and retain a slew of lawyers to sue everyone who knocked off their product, this guy is simply a reseller of a commodity. He benefits from his market position and the novelty of the product. Like the razors, his product creates a demand for something new, but he has a near one click order form built into his razor.

I’ll still have to print the QR code, and for the Apple users I’ll probably have to write down the WPA key, but the use of NFC as the primary way to connect makes it high tech and classy. I’ve donated and look forward to getting my NFC tags.

Amazon doesn’t stand a chance. Genius.