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The problem with this as gamification is that there is zero ability to play for less than the current high-score. That is a real problem: suppose 500 people were wiling to pay close to, but not over, $10, but hardly anyone was willing to pay over $10. If 15 people have paid $10 it now prices anyone wanting to pay up to $10 completely out of visibility. Since we said there were 500 such people, you lose $5,000 while making 15 * 10 = $150. That's a real design problem. Pay-to-play should give everyone something.

Interesting perspective. Right now you can still get 'value' out of it by paying less than the #1 spot, since the first few spots are still highly visible too. That said, your logical reasoning still applies. I'm not sure what a better solution would be though. A leaderboard works because it's exclusive.

You could lower the current score by one cent every x seconds

that's a really cool idea.

The idea of a permanent score is what inspired me to pay, though. A steadily declining score doomed to fail wouldn't have felt nearly as cool.

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