I am not a fan of the prediction market business. I know that many game and social theorists think they're valuable predictors of crowd behavior, but I've seen too many prediction start-ups turn into intellectual wastelands, with a few people controlling the "price" of opinions that are either pointless on the face of it, or bizarrely tilted in one direction or the other.
Predictify is a survey engine cleverly masquerading as a prediction market. On the site, users can answer questions that test their predictive abilities in various fields. If they prove to be right, they can win actual real money. Users even get a small payout for answering a question if they end up being wrong.
People and companies wanting to do market research can submit questions to the Predictify audience--for a fee--and the answers that prove to be most accurate split the bulk of "pot" that is attached to the question.
The money is ingenious misdirection. The point of rewarding accuracy is not to actually pay people for being right. The money is there, rather, to ensure that people who answer questions try to be right. Data from a Predictify survey is broken down in many ways for its users who pay for results, and it's that demographic breakdown that Predictify is really selling, not absolute predictions.
For example, suppose a company wants to know how to price a product. It can ask a question, "What do you think the price of this product will be when it hits the market?" The answers will be correlated with demographics, revealing what different groups (gender, age, ZIP code, etc.) think the item is worth. The "winners" who select the right price aren't predicting the price so much as determining it, and the people who select the price point are basing it not on the aggregate wisdom of the crowd but on the pricing level their target demographic has zeroed in on.
It's one of the cleverest Web 2.0 mind games I've seen in a while, and it just might work. Like many prediction markets, though, the community will run out of gas unless there's a strong incentive to keep people engaged. Money is just part of it on this system. Predictify also ranks users, and pays out more to the more accurate ones.