Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.
Last week we gave away 250 private beta invites for Blippr, a service that allows you to collect, organize and share your books, games, music, movies and tv shows. It’s definitely a nice service for people with a broad range of interests. Yet not everybody is interested in books AND music AND movies. For those people, there are specialized services, and an example is social network for gamers Vigster.com.
The London-based start-up showed a demo during Minibar, chaired by Mike Butcher form TechCrunch UK – and launched this week in public beta. Users can build and catalogue their games, create virtual game shelves to show off their games collection and do the regular social network thing: connecting, sharing and having heated discussions about game characters, scenarios and whatnot.
The interface is rather sober – not what you would expect from a gaming service – and focused too much on selling games. For instance, if you go to the screenshots gallery and click on one you like, you end up on a page that puts the ‘buy this game’-line right in your face. You have to scroll down to find a thumbnail version of the screenshot, that opens on a new blank page. There are officiously some missed opportunities there.
I think the way to build a strong community is to get users to love your service. Offer them the same features Vigster has now, but present them in a good-looking, game-like and usable interface. Show users that you love them as well by welcoming them in a warm way – learn from Flickr – and leave the Google Ads for later.
But most of all, let them know you love games too. I’m sure the guys from Vigster have a passion for games, but I can’t tell by looking at their service.
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