The Social Fabric product Badgeville announced Monday goes beyond gamification--the addition of game-like social widgets to websites to track, rank, and reward active users--to add a range of social media attributes to any website. CEO Kris Duggan said he doesn't care whether you call the new product gamification or not.
"We're in the user behavior business," Duggan said in an interview. Tracking and influencing user behavior was the whole point of Badgeville's gamification software, and this is just an extension, bringing together identity, content, and context for a richer experience, he said.
Until now, Badgeville has been in the business of offering a social gaming engine and gamification widgets for use on websites. The Social Fabric product adds another layer of social interaction, allowing a website to have its own activity feeds, notifications, and realtime messaging until the site incorporating these features almost looks like its own social network.
"You get the ability to follow people and objects--all those elements from the social network, we're taking and deconstructing, democratizing," Duggan said. The software is built around the Open Graph Protocol, the same metadata standard Facebook has promoted for social tagging. A visitor can see who else is on the site now, who else is interacting with content they are interested in, and what's been happening since their last visit (the notifications).
The Next Web (TNW), an international technology news and business website, has been testing the Social Fabric product and plans to begin incorporating it into its production website starting in November. TNW introduced basic Badgeville functionality a year ago and has been using it to better track who is using the site regularly, while also encouraging them to keep coming back.
"We've been looking for a social solution for our site for a while and we were considering building it ourselves--in fact, we had plans to do it ourselves," said Zee M. Kane, TNW's editor in chief. When Badgeville approached him with its idea for this new product, "it fit almost identically with what we were planning to do ourselves."
"We're not planning to compete with Facebook and Google+, or anything like that, but this will give readers more social interaction on The Next Web and will give you a good idea about which of your friends are reading articles and who's commenting on what," Kane added.
Badgeville has also promised that a future version of the product will allow users to invite friends from Facebook and other public social networks to join, broadening the site's overall readership, he said.
Badgeville is previewing the Social Fabric at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco this week.
The Virtual Enterprise 2.0 Conference examines some of the leading use cases for applying social and collaborative application strategies for measurable results. It happens Sept. 15. Find out more and sign up.