Not everyone has the cash for virtual goods. Boomerang offers an alternative model for those who can’t – or don’t want to – pay. “We help people with payments,” said Boomerang co-founder and CEO Honor Gunday, pr

esenting at Monday’s TechRadar.

Boomerang’s Offerwall is an alternative payments platform for virtual goods that gives users currency in exchange for their signing up for offers. The Boomerang platform allows users to buy virtual goods in return for trying out a product or service: a month’s free subscription to Netflix, for example.

Offerwall works with over 120 ad networks in 160 countries, and is translated into all the major languages.

Boomerang describes Offerwall as a “user-driven virtual currency monetization platform,” which uses a review and use-based ranking system to make the best offers most visible and to bury the bad ones. Boomerang tracks demographics to better match players and offers as well.

All of this is important. Offer-based services have been sources of controversy in the past. One thinks especially of Michael Arrington’s invective/crusade against Zynga’s use of such services last year.

Gunday says that these things mean that 80 to 90 percent of Boomerang’s revenue is created by users' acceptance of offers.

Reputation-based offers could potentially save businesses that use such services from future criticisms as the crowd outs the bad offers. And, perhaps more importantly, keep the company out of Arrington’s Scarecrow glare.

Ad-offer networks can be compelling to users but need to be especially transparent. Boomerang’s crowdsourced model should leverage that transparency and help the company compete with the major players in the evolving virtual goods market. As well, Boomerang’s focus on international markets should be a great strength.

By Mark Alvarez