1. Their edge in the industry is due to their incorporation with social networks allowing people to easily play with their friends. The games are also free so anyone can play, and if they choose to spend money on their games, they can.
2. They are using a free-to-play model which is different because most games you have to purchase in full. The free-to-play model lets you play for free and if you want specific perks you may have to spend money.
3. Zynga made good choices by creating a free-to-play model, incorporating micro transactions of money, creating games that have a huge chance for profit, and incorporating itself with various social networks.
4. I 've never purchased a virtual good. I've won various virtual goods for my Xbox Live avatar.
5. I'd side with the game designers because data isn't a clear cut way to design a game around. The developers that left the company even said that the data didn't explain how to make games, it didn't account on how to create the right use experience.