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This article was published on September 27, 2010

Badgeville: Bringing Fun & Games to TNW (Interview)

Badgeville: Bringing Fun & Games to TNW (Interview)
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Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos, designing, listening to good music and making lurrrve.

You may have noticed something a little different in our sidebar over the last week. We’ve been trialing a new product that allows publishers to instantly add a ‘game’ element to their website.

Badgeville is the name of the startup behind this and thanks to them you can now earn points and badges simply by reading, sharing and commenting on posts here at The Next Web, adding a fun competitive element to our network’s community. We spoke to Kris Duggan, CEO of Badgeville in his first press interview to find out more about the company.

While Badgeville is fun for users of a website to take part in, it aims to solve a serious business problem for publishers. Duggan says the company was started as way of measuring just how engaged an audience is with a site. “We’re at a place now where there’s a huge shift in the way publishers think about their audiences”, he says. “Pageviews are dead as a metric; they don’t show how healthy and engaged your community is. Our goal was to build a loyalty and rewards platform for websites that drives engagement.”

Badgeville’s key strength is how flexible and simple it is. “Any behavior, any user, any reward – we’ve set it up to be completely flexible”, Duggan explains.

“Literally anything you want to reward as a publisher, you can. If you want to reward users who have highly rated comments, you can. If you want to reward users who drive lots of traffic to your site via Facebook, you can. If you want to reward them for subscribing to premium content, you can”.

The service integrates with any user registration system that you might already have in place. Here on The Next Web we use the native WordPress system for comments, but if you use a third party system like Echo or Disqus for example, your users will still be automatically part of the Badgeville system, earning rewards for whatever you want them to.

Behind the scenes there’s some complex behavioral tracking going on, while publishers get a simple UI for managing what they want to reward and analytics to see how well the system’s working.

The analytics help publishers measure the “Health” of their community, identify top users, determine who creates the best conversations on a site, understand who refers the most traffic back to a site and understand key points of friction preventing deeper user engagement. Meanwhile, users get a simple and straightforward reward system that requires no effort to take part in while encouraging them to stick around for longer.

Here at The Next Web, we’re really excited by Badgeville’s potential. The Badgeville implementation on the site is currently at “Soft launch” stage, so look out for more detail about how it all works and how to earn points and badges soon. Oh, and later this week our writing team will be removed from the leaderboard so that those of you who aren’t logged in to the site all day like we are have a chance at glory.

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