IBM Showcases Bunchball Social Gamification Partnership
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Gamification techniques bear some resemblance to rewards programs such as the airline programs that award free flights for miles flown or credit card programs that give cash back for purchases. Rewards programs "have been around forever," Paharia said, but the difference is they're keyed to strictly transactional data, whereas gamification is based on all sorts of activity. In general, the rewards bestowed through gamification programs need not be monetary -- in fact, it's often better if they are not.
"Giving dollar value rewards is the easiest thing to do, and also the least effective," Paharia said. Research on user behavior shows that people are more motivated by rewards that confer status than they are by money. According to Paharia, people also turn out to be more motivated by a chance to earn money for a favorite charity than to pocket it themselves, while teams are often best motivated by systems that allow members to bestow rewards on other members. "The idea of creating strong bonds within teams by letting them reward each other is very powerful."
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Paharia claimed the following representative results for Bunchball integration:
-- 16% answers to user questions
-- 29% content downloads
-- 50% discussion posts
-- 55% monthly active users
-- 57% monthly users contributing content
-- 157% frequency of content uploads
-- 417% site usage vs. previous year
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