Badgeville Takes Cue From Facebook With 'Behavior Graph'
Big customers like Samsung are incorporating Badgeville's expanded capabilities for sitewide recognition and reward systems.
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The gamification company Badgeville is busily turning itself into more than a gamification company, pursing an all-encompassing social platform play to rival Facebook's.
The Behavior Platform that Badgeville announced Monday is a suite of social reputation, gamification, and social networking services for large companies. For example, Samsung has created Samsung Nation, with rewards for the most active users of its website, and is currently advertising a chance to win a Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the first users who sign up.
"This is a massive opportunity to prove the value of consumer engagement on a website, using social rewards and badging," said Kris Narayanan, VP of digital marketing at Samsung. A ticker of the registered members' activities and earned badges is prominently displayed on the Samsung U.S. home page.
Samsung could have started with a more tentative test on a marketing microsite, but decided the best way to prove the value of this approach was to try it on the main website, which gets tens of millions of visits per year, Narayanan said.
Deloitte Digital, PayPal, eBay’s X.Commerce, CA Technologies, and Rogers Communications are among the customers Badgeville claims for its community, social reputation, and gamification platform. "We have a dozen other Fortune 500 companies, where we haven't been able to announce just yet who they are," Badgeville CEO Kris Duggan said in an interview.
While gamification is an element of what those companies are looking for, they really want it as part of a package that includes social reputation management and the ability to host private-label social networks, Duggan said. "We think this is actually part of a bigger category, which we've been briefing the analysts on over the last week. We think the category is called behavior management, which is all about measuring and influencing behavior, and it applies to everything--every industry, government, healthcare, etc."
This is not the first hint of Badgeville's grand ambitions. In September, it announced Badgeville Social Fabric, which allows publishers to operate a private-label social network. With Social Fabric, readers can post comments, follow conversations, and get notifications in much the same style as they would while signed onto Facebook or Google+.
Duggan said Social Fabric will be one of several modules that run on top of the Badgeville behavior platform, alongside modules for analytics and reputation management. As a cloud service that integrates with many websites and multiple public social networks, the Badgeville platform will be able to track the reputation and behavior of users globally, rather than through their interactions with a single site, Duggan said.
In talking about a "Behavior Graph," Badgeville looks to be setting itself up as an alternative, or maybe a supplement, to Facebook's Open Graph notion of allowing website publishers to offer social sign-on and get access to user preferences gathered from Facebook activity and interactions with other websites that support Open Graph. Since Badgeville integrates with Facebook and other social networks, its Behavior Graph would be a meta version of that capability--another level of social tracking and integration. Duggan didn't put this in so many words but termed the observation "very perceptive."
On Samsung's site, Badgeville is part of a broader social software experience that also includes Bazaarvoice product reviews, but Duggan said part of the point of the platform is to accept feeds from many sources.
"We're providing a lightweight layer that runs across your entire enterprise," Duggan said.
As a gamification platform, Badgeville is also one of the companies courting SAP for a chance to become its partner for enterprise gamification initiatives.
Badgeville's plans captured the attention of Brian Solis, principal analyst at the Altimeter Group and author of "Engage!" and the new book "The End of Business as Usual." "Badgeville takes an innovative approach to boosting lifetime customer value though a unique combination of game mechanics and social media," Solis said, in a statement. "[With] the experience that Badgeville is earning by working with large clientele in technology, telco, Internet, media, healthcare, ecommerce, consumer brands, consulting, and more on board, the company is learning how to positively influence behavior across their developers, employees, partners, and users, while also delivering value back to customers."
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