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Posts tagged ‘status’


Gamification of Online Communities for Beginners

Nothing is worth doing unless it’s fun. At least that’s what I like to tell myself.

How do we make online communities fun? By introducing gaming mechanics for each activity a community members performs. They’re already baked into today’s online community platforms but may not be that obvious to you. They come in the form of points, status ranks, badges, progress bars, virtual currency and leader boards.

By making things competitive, you encourage members to engage in the desired behaviors and goals of your online community that would otherwise seem dull and unfulfilling.

Which gaming mechanics have you deployed on your community? Did you see an instant uptick in user-generated content and activities?

Punch Clock

Check-ins are Like Punching a Clock

Showing off your loyalty towards a brand takes quite a bit of dedication. With the [not-so] recent introductions of location-based services (LBS) apps like foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, Facebook and Yelp, we’re all guilty of “checking-in” to our favorite venues and broadcasting that action to our community of followers.

The drive at first was purely the novelty of the service. Nothing like it existed. But to keep members interested, the services needed to evolve and evolve quickly. Introducing gaming elements like Leaderboards, Mayorships, Dukes, Duchesses, badges and points systems was a no-brainer. The competitiveness, rewards and deals drove growth of the services. But I find myself less and less compelled to continue checking-in and maintain the status levels I’ve achieved at each frequented location. I have to admit, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve capitalized on a reward or deal. Which makes me ask the question; has the market been saturated with heavy-handed check-in members to the point where status levels are no longer obtainable? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve held the same 10 Mayorships on foursquare for as long as I can remember and that number rarely ever changes +/-1.

Will I continue to check-in? Sure. But it’s definitely not for the reasons when I first set out using the services. It’s now about what’s next. When I was younger, I worked at a local grocery store. At the beginning of my shift, I would have to punch my time card using this monstrous industrial looking clock. And that’s what LBS feels like to me at this point in time. I’m punching a clock out of necessity and not for the fun-ness factor. It’s kind of like watching HBO’s original series Entourage. The stories and acting get harder to watch season after season, but you stick in there because you have to see how Vince’s career ends.

What do LBS shops have up their sleeves? What’s the next evolution of the service?  Which LBS apps do you use? Where do you see the industry going?

Wanted Spam

Social Games are a Marketer’s Backdoor

The phrase “unwanted spam” use to be a redundant statement.  I mean, who WANTS spam anway? Well, thanks to social gaming and according to eMarketer, approximately 69 million Americans do.

We as consumers are voluntarily opting-in to spam, and indirectly, opting-in our networks of friends and colleagues into getting spam.  How exactly? With social games developed for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Facebook.

It’s quite an achievement by game developers and marketers. They realized that consumers are motivated by an addiction to building status and the ability to easily brag to their social networks by posting their most recent virtual accomplishments.  I’m sure you’ve noticed your news feed cluttered with these types of postings.

The mechanics of most social games are fairly straightforward. With just a few clicks of the mouse and some basic math skills, users on their own can “level-up” and continue to broadcast their achievements to their networks over and over again. But recruit friends in your adventures and your “productivity” goes through the roof. Basically, spam your friends with invites so they’ll join you.

Users voluntarily subject themselves to incentive offers and in-app purchases too.  With every game click comes a new offer:

  • Invite ten friends and win a rare item
  • Gold coins are 20% off for this week only
  • Complete a partner offer for  10 profile points

I’m guilty of it too. I’ve spent countless hours trying to grow my mafia in Mafia Wars, build hotels in Monopoly Millionaires, finding players in Words with Friends and dozens of others.

My question is, with all the efforts we’ve all made to unsubscribe from email marketing lists, being careful not share any personal information online, why are we so eager and less hesitant to share now? So we can have a kick ass virtual farm?