Gamification: What It Is, and What It Means to You

Gamification is the integration of game dynamics into a website, service, community, content, or campaign in order to drive participation. It’s brand new, but it is an emerging trend in technology and in online marketing. Smallbiztechnology.com sat down with Nathan Lands, CEO of Gamify, for a short Q&A session about the company, gamification, and how it all relates to small businesses.

What is Gamify? What services do you provide? – The Gamify Network consists of several websites that provides information resources and services for the emerging gamification industry, with the most popular one currently being the Gamification Wiki (http://gamification.org). We also have a Gamification Q&A for those who have questions concerning gamification, and a Job Board for those looking to hire or be hired in gamification related projects. Collectively the Gamify Network sites represent the largest resource and community for gamification in the world.

Our main project, Gamify.com, is starting private alpha soon and will likely be released in Q1 of 2012. Gamify.com is a playful take on Gamification, focused on creating fun virtual spaces where players can explore and discover new and interesting people and things. We’ve created special technology that we will be explaining later, but it gives our spaces a huge advantage because anyone can share the links easily and instantly jump in on any device without installing anything.

How did this trend or idea start? – Gamification started being discussed in circles in the gaming industry several years ago, at parties, conferences, dinners etc.  A lot of the traditional game designers were against the idea, similar to how they were also against the emergence of social games on Facebook.

For me the idea really started when I was a kid and I was making money on games when I was 15 by selling virtual goods. I realized that virtual things could be just as valuable as real things, that it was all a matter of perception. I started wondering why other things in real life couldn’t be fun like games… a lot of it really is just perception and how people imagine things should be done. The younger generation is going to expect funner experiences open to more creativity and self-expression than past generations. They’ll take that expectation with them to work, where they shop and everywhere in life. A lot of industries are going to be shook up and have to adapt or die off.

How can a small business use Gamify? Could you provide an example or two? – Not disclosed yet, but we do have tools for companies to use our virtual spaces to create a playful way to interact with their brand and for them to interact with their customers and fans.

How has this benefited small businesses? – The Gamify Network has benefited many companies who are researching Gamification. Our wiki(http://gamification.org) is currently the most visited gamification website in the world. Small businesses who are interested can use our network for free to ask questions(http://meta.gamification.org) about how to Gamify their website or to get feedback on ideas or implementations of gamification. They also can post on our job board(http://jobs.gamification.org) for free to look for gamification consultants, artists, game designers, engineers and more.

Is this in any way a mobile marketing technique? If so, how? – Yes, our technology inherently works on any mobile devices as well as web using one version with HMTL 5 so you don’t have to create multiple versions for each platform.

Why should a small business use Gamify? – Users expect more from the brands they love now. They want to interact and express themselves. Using Gamify you can empower your super fans to spread the word about your company online and allows them to feel closer to you and your brand.

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About Allison Midori Reilly

Allison Midori Reilly is the CEO and Founder of Stirring Media, LLC. Stirring Media, LLC is a content marketing and news production firm that provides content marketing and business blogging services to the small business market. Prior to that, she was a freelance writer, who was published in over a dozen print and online publications, such as Smallbiztechnology.com, American City & County, Ideabing.com, Transport Topics and St. Louis Commerce Magazine. In her spare time, Reilly is an active member of Amnesty International as well as an avid poker player.