Monthly Archives: June 2011

BigDoor Is Hiring

We’re pleased to announce that BigDoor is hiring! Are you an unconventional Black Box Tester? Can you use your reporting and analytic skills as a rockstar Business Intelligence Analyst? Are you a creative and strong Web Designer with web UI skills? A killer Content Manager? BigDoor is looking for YOU!

We’re a Seattle-based startup looking for individuals to help us create the next big killer company. Our platform helps digital publishers create loyalty programs and game mechanics into their site or application through points, badges, levels, virtual currency and virtual goods as well as building economies for our partners. We’re developing a game mechanics and virtual economy ecosystem based around our RESTful API to interact with our MySQL database for clients and we perform high transaction volumes. Our customers include digital publishers, content providers, app developers, goods vendors, and advertisers. Our platform is extensible in order to allow a wide variety of apps to be built on top of it. Sound interesting? Send your details to

Observations Of A Startup

Hi, I’m Frances, @therealfrancie to be exact. I’m 50% cocker spaniel and 50% cute. Yesterday I got to spend the day hanging out with the BigDoor Team. I thought I’d share a little more about what I observed being around a startup:

  • Everyone works really hard. It all makes me very tired but it’s fun to see everyone so enthusiastic.
  • There’s a lot of collaboration. The other office dog Macy and I collaborated some on finding crumbs but the rest of the guys just focused on work stuff.
  • While the workplace is casual the attention to detail and the BigDoor level of expertise is impressive. I’m pretty much an expert at chew toys and chasing the UPS deliver person.
  • There’s lots of long nights and takeout food. For me the food is a big bonus, more crumbs to fall on the ground. Again, Macy and I collaborate.
  • Everyone laughs at least a few times a day – even under the pressure of deadlines. I can’t wag my tail enough at this one.
  • Did I mention that everyone works really hard? And that it makes me really tired.
  • Follow along with my observations and all that’s cool in my doggie world here.

BigDoor Gets Bigger

Today we wanted to introduce everyone to our newest team member, Bryan Estes. Bryan joins the team as our Implementation Specialist and will be working to help onboard our new partners as well as create game layers that make the most sense for their online communities. Having previously been at Blinkx and Zango, Bryan brings a wealth of online advertising experience to our team. As we continue to build out our Engagement Economy, Bryan will be instrumental in linking our partners with our optional gamification elements that help brands extend their programs online.

Outside of work, Bryan enjoys trail running/racing, mountaineering, cycling, and says he’s a big Mariners fan, which he admits “Can be painful at times.”

Rock On: Gamification and Music!

As the trend in gamification just continues we’re seeing smarter and smarter implementations. One trend we’re really liking right now is the gamification of music. Over the past few months there have been a few artists who have come out with some really cool ideas that not only engage their fan base but we’d be have also help them build more fans. A recap below:

Owl City launched their new album with an app that encouraged their fans to interact with the artist’s music. Fans can interact with each other within the app (through Facebook Connect) and earn points as well as merchandise and virtual goods.

The lovely Erykah Badu unveiled her iPhone app in February that used gamification to help fans show her their “Love” through a scoring system that ranks them. Participants could check in at concerts, share content with their friends and buy Badu’s music as well. Fans receive a “Love Score” and the higher their score the cooler their rewards – including personalized voice messages from Badu herself.

Our last example comes from the showman Elvis Costello who recently gamified his href=”” target=”_blank”>set list during a show. Check out the video clip as the fans help pick the songs through a game:

The music industry has really always been about competition (Billboard music charts, etc.) so we applaud the artists that are working to make things more fun and engaging for their fans!

Gamification news you may have missed – June 20, 2011

Traveling off the grid last week, or so busy you couldn’t keep up with the latest in gamification news on the web? Have no fear – here’s a quick roundup of the resources we found interesting. Have a great week!

A World of Sloppy Thinking Gamification Research Network, 6/13/2011 and Sebastian Deterding adds his thoughts on top of Kevin Slavin’s review of a recent report from Saatchi & Saatchi S that confused mobile, social games, gamification, loyalty and I think even some transmedia sprinkled around in there.

Web of Games TechCrunch, 6/18/2011 Adam Bosworth’s guest post challenges TechCrunch readers to see the emerging gamification trend as one that will influence immense change in the industry and become a core skill to remain competitive.

Start Your Own Schrute Bucks System The Globe and Mail, 6/16/2011 Part Two of a gamification series for small businesses, this installment gets deeper into the implementation and keys on how gamification requires underlying value to succeed (“Jam on toast” per our own @chiefdoorman) and how the existence of community is critical for many of the core mechanics.

Gamification. Advergaming. Transmedia. The GAMESbrief Guide to Marketing and Games. GAMESbrief, 6/16/2011 I love that Nicholas took a moment to walk through these different terms. I know that we’ll continue to witness confusion and that it can get worse (like the Saatchi & Saatchi report above) but marketers need to keep the distinctions clear and focus on the right solution for the job.

#E2sday: Adding Play Into the Enterprise SocialCast, 6/14/2011 A fun infographic providing workplace and games industry data while explaining how the idea of gamifying enterprise to engage employees can make sense.

Gamification news you may have missed – June 13, 2011

We decided to start offering up a regular post that provides links back to some of the key resources or news from the previous week. Just doing what we can to keep being your friendly neighborhood gamification provider. Enjoy!
– Roy

  • Enough with Call of Duty, Answer the Call in Room 417 Wall Street Journal, 6/6/2011: While the example doesn’t really align with what I would call gamification, it’s interesting to see Marriott using social games to try and market their employee experience with an intent toward impacting recruitment. It’s “purely marketing” but you can still see how this mode of thinking will start to influence their internal training and evaluation programs.
  • Five Triggers That Make Your Product Addicting Fast Company, 6/6/2011: Adrian Ott details the 5 Ps of Customer Triggers, aligning some key marketing triggers with the different types of game mechanics you can utilize to drive impact.
  • Using Games to Get Better at Life Torontoist, 6/6/2011: A quick intro to gamification followed by an interview with Gabe Zichermann at the mesh conference that highlights some responses to anti-gamification arguments around poor implementations and the ethical implications, including those regarding encouraging addictive behavior.
  • The Only Way to Get Normal People to Care About Health: Turn It Into a Game SFGate, 6/9/2011: An interesting overview of the startup Keas and how the use of gamification has impacted the user experience and evolution of the product.
  • Applying Game Mechanics to Blog Design to Drive Engagement DIYBlogger.NET, 6/9/2011: A fun post (and comments) about how to think about utilizing game mechanics to keep people coming back and sharing your content. Dino recognizes the potential power of using status and access in these communities, and does a great job pointing out the limitations and pitfalls when not done right.
  • Pixie Dust & The Mountain of Mediocrity gapingvoid, 6/7/2011: A counter from Kathy Sierra to the current gamification buzz. I agree with many of the points, and hope that we can continue to develop tools and services that help online publishers make their users awesome and create passionate users. But I also know we won’t cut out the high fructose corn syrup completely – it’s ok to add a splash here and there. 🙂

Guest Post: 10 Tips For Startup Weekend

Our Software Developer Brian Immel will be participating in his second Startup Weekend Seattle this weekend. For those of you in Seattle that will be participating, BImmel offers 10 Tips For Startup Weeekend. We call out a few below but you can find the rest here.

  1. Prepare yourself: You don’t have to spend sleepless nights before Startup Weekend, but make sure you are ready for the event. If you want to design graphics all weekend make sure you’ve got Photoshop installed and ready to go. The clock may start Friday night, but you don’t want to waste it with stupid stuff you could have figured out earlier.
  2. Shop around: After the pitches Friday night you’ll have a big choice of which team to join. If you pitched yourself, you might even have to make the tough choice of abandoning your idea and joining forces with others. Either way take the time and walk the room and talk to the presenters. Once you dig deeper and hear the details of the “how” and “why” of their idea you may change your mind.
  3. Surround yourself with a solid team: You’ll be spending the next few days with these people. Make sure they’ve got the chops you need, are going to be easy to work with and don’t smell too bad.

Is Your Brand Tasty?

Yet another buzz-worthy dust up online this week about how evil and bad gamification is. Really? Here we go again. While the recent anti-gamification blog post raises some interesting points most of it sounds like same old same old.

Yesterday the ad firm Saatchi and Saatchi released their study that found Americans are more interested in working for a company that uses gamification to increase productivity. The study also pointed out that Americans felt it’s important for brands to be fun and playful.

We’ve said it all along – gamification is more than points and badges. So if you’re a brand does adding gamification really help people engage? Yes. At BigDoor we’re working to release our Engagement Economy; a way for brands to engage more deeply with their audience using gamification. Through our Engagement Economy, online publishers will also have access to a self-service option with a built-in revenue stream that’s completely customizable – so brands can add fun when they want.

Gamification won’t save the world and it’s not appropriate in every setting. But maybe if brands really want to connect and engage with consumers we do think gamification is a great way to do that. And really who doesn’t love a little High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Guest Post: 7 Viral Marketing Lessons

Today we share another great Guest Post from Adam Loving, a super-awesome Senior Developer who has been working with us for a few months now. Adam brings great energy and ideas to the team. In this post Adam explores 7 Viral Marketing Lessons. We offer a few of his tips below (not in any particular order) but you can read the full list here. Oh and the bonus…..there are more than seven tips!

  • Sharing messages are critical, hard to template, and should be one of the first things designed
  • Tweets, Invites, and Likes are a currency. You can charge for content in that currency
  • In calls to action, ego (what are they saying about me?), humor, obligation, and sex are huge
  • Draw your viral loops and funnels, and estimate the attrition at each stage