A startup called Badgeville wants to bring the badge concept (popularized by Foursquare and other location-based startups) to any online publisher.
Chief executive Kris Duggan said Badgeville’s goal is to increase reader engagement and help its customer sites build a community. As he put it, “It’s not about pageviews anymore.” Publishers can award badges for the behavior of their choice, such as leaving a comment or becoming a fan of the site on Facebook. Readers can also compare their results to friends’ on social networks like Facebook.
Duggan acknowledged that Badgeville isn’t the only company trying to bring game mechanics into publishing, but he said it offers the most flexibility and control for publishers. Those publishers can just sign up and add Badgeville widgets to their site, or they can customize the service by directly accessing Badgeville’s application programming interfaces. Duggan said the big goal goes beyond badges, extending into analytics data that doesn’t just involve “writing down behavior” and actually helps “influence outcomes.”
Google’s Don Dodge, one of the judges at the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlfield where Badgeville launched, said he loves the idea.
“It’s got all the buzzwords,” he said, adding that the key will be to create a measurable benefit for publishers.
Badgeville said it has already signed up 10 publishers, including TechCrunch and TheNextWeb, for a total of 400 million monthly pageviews. The company has raised $250,000 and is on track to earn $1 million in revenue this year, Duggan said.