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BigDoor Scores With Self-Service Gaming Platform

Startup offers widgets, API access, free for the taking, then offers upgrades to enterprise support. Customer fans include Major League Baseball.

BigDoor is a small company on a mission to send you on a mission.

Along with other gamification platform startups like Bunchball and Badgeville (is there a rule all the names have to start with "B"?), BigDoor wants to provide services other websites can embed to create more fun and engaging experiences that keep people coming back.

In particular, BigDoor wants to make it easy for Web publishers to design "missions" that website visitors will be to encouraged to complete, whether on behalf of an advertiser or the publisher. Those who complete their missions get rewards, which can include social network status (a badge on their profile), virtual rewards, or real world rewards like gift cards.

Web publishers sign up for free. BigDoor takes a commission based on the virtual economy of points awarded and redeemed.

The service has won some big customers such as Major League Baseball, which uses BigDoor's widgets to encourage fans to follow games online through live gameday coverage. DevHub, a do-it-yourself Web publishing tool for small business, uses BigDoor widgets to make signing up for and using the service more "like a game."

BigDoor's approach is to provide a series of JavaScript widgets websites can incorporate, starting with a "MiniBar" displayed across the bottom of the browser window. The MiniBar shows whether the user has authenticated through a service such as Facebook and, if so, displays reward point totals, content sharing options, and that person's standing compared to a leaderboard of top users. Those who perform a desirable action, such as sharing content, can be rewarded with points. Point totals can dovetail with other reward programs offered by a website or an advertiser.

Thursday, BigDoor announced it was acquiring another small startup, OneTrueFan, which has been working on a Web-based rewards platform that also includes some gamification elements. The acquisition will allow BigDoor to offer organizations that don't already have a rewards program an easy way to create one, BigDoor CEO Keith Smith said. In addition, BigDoor will be coming out with "a combined, enhanced OneTrueFan" offering, while also incorporating elements of the acquired firm's technology into the BigDoor service. OneTrueFan will also help BigDoor improve its "social user acquisition" strategy, Smith said.

OneTrueFan will add five people to the BigDoor staff, for a total of 31 employees, Smith said.

BigDoor is also in the midst of a private beta of a "quest bar" widget that will follow users as they go on more complicated, multistep "missions" to earn bigger rewards. BigDoor also provides a REST API and other customization options.

Typically, it's advertisers on the website who pay, although publishers also have the option of funding the rewards program themselves to deepen engagement with their sites, Smith said. The idea is to create a "cost per quest ad format, where advertisers who want to reach a publisher's audience come up with a quest for the user to complete--like watch this video about this particular brand, or like this brand's Web page. When they come back to the original publisher, they now have currency they can spend at the publisher's site," he said.

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User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2014 | 8:17:02 AM
They should check out
They should check out more gambling sites and figure out what make the users come back again and again and use their findings to improve their own online presence. There is a reason why the worldwide lotto subscription is appreciated by so many people.
Deb Donston-Miller
Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/12/2011 | 9:35:17 AM
re: BigDoor Scores With Self-Service Gaming Platform
If you look at tech M&A deals for the last couple of years, gaming is a huge theme across sectors. It will be really interesting to see how gaming is implemented in different social applications and to what extent it engages users.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
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