Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first.
The whole Four Square badging thing sort of mystified me when it first launched -- why would people jump through hoops for little virtual icons? But I am certainly no stranger to addictive behavior, so the appeal of these little virtual awards sunk in fast.
But why should virtual awards exist only on FourSquare or select social environments like networks and games? According to Badgeville, they shouldn't, and their fascinating company offers a compelling white label badging solution for any web site.
Using Badgeville, which was the Tech Crunch Disrupt Audience Choice Winner in 2010, sites can encourage visitors to perform desirable behaviors in exchange for virtual awards and recognition. Webmasters can offer consumers points, badges, or trophies for specific web tasks.
Example: Want more reviews of products in your store? Give reviewers silver medals, and power reviewers golds.
A longish video of their LeWeb 2010 start up competition pitch appears below:
Site integration comes through nifty little turnkey widgets, or flexible APIs for deeper integration. You can also reward people for sharing your site content on FaceBook and Twitter, and enable users to encourage their friends to join the rewards/awards community in social media. Heck, you can even give them a badge for doing it. Using the built-in real time analytics, you can immediately answer questions like:
Who are your top 100 visitors?
How many of your users have left comments or shared a link to your site?
Where are your site's bottlenecks?
By combining loyalty rewards and game psychology, Badgeville offers an engaging new way to get people to do more on your site, more often. It's an engaging approach to loyalty without requiring lengthy sign up processes or major commitments. Badge lovers will participate while other can simply consume the results of the actions you have encouraged and rewarded on your site.
Definitely one of those ideas that makes me hit myself in the forehead and say, "Why didn't I think of that?" They're based in Palo Alto and Amsterdam. It integrates with your existing database so your current users/members don't need to "join again" to play. It's a SaaS model, with a monthly fees model based upon the level of usage in your community.