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arkadium1The community gaming features found on social networking sites will soon come to Arkadium’s “advergaming” portals. (Advergaming means using video games specifically to advertise a product).

In acquiring Advergame.com and relaunching another gaming portal, GreatDayGames.com, Arkadium, whose clients include Sony, CBS and Good Housekeeping, said it’s well on the way to stepping up the way marketers can reach gamers. But the biggest change will be in social features coming to Arkadium’s network of sponsored gaming portals.

The company’s Arena service provides existing sites with their own customized portal. For example, AARP.com’s gaming site features the word-search game Driver Safety Program alongside more traditional games such as Mahjong and Solitaire. Players on this site and others, including ESPN.com and Cosmopolitan.com will soon get social networking features that Arkadium hopes will keep them on the site longer and make them more receptive to advertising.

Among these features is a loyalty system that encourages players to rate games or write reviews while allowing publishers to drive players to monetized sections of their site. Other features include friends lists, avatars, improved leaderboards and the ability to bookmark favorite games.

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Three factors made these features a priority for Arkadium. Social networking on other sites led Arkadium to believe gamers are looking for the same features on all gaming portals. Arkadium also cites statistics showing that people stick around longer on gaming portals with community features. Existing gamers on Arkadium’s portals have also written e-mails to the company requesting friends lists and other means of communication.

Arkadium’s main competitor in advergaming is Blockdot, which differs in that it focuses on creating online games based on specific brands rather than offering entire portals for Web sites.

The company plans to monetize through targeted ads, along with tiered subscription packages, microtransactions and other offers to players. In other words, Arkadium wants to make money in the same way other portals do, but through sites that are sponsored by other brands.

Arkadium has built itself up to 85 full-time employees, with offices in New York City and Simferopol, Ukraine, without taking any venture capital.

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