One of Foursquare’s most compelling aspects is its game dynamic, which rewards users with virtual badges for checking into venues repeatedly. The benefit for businesses is that potential customers voluntarily give up valuable marketing data just by using this app, and others like it. In many cases, app users will promote a venue or game to their friends through Facebook and Twitter. That kind of free advertising is invaluable. Might businesses pay great sums to integrate this functionality into their websites? That’s exactly what Badgeville is hoping for.
Launched in September 2010, Badgeville has created what the company calls a Loyalty and Rewards Platform for web publishers. Badgeville will help websites use social media and incentives to keep visitors engaged and pull in additional business. Badgeville is also building configurable widgets and apps to help businesses accomplish these goals. The apps will use proven tools such as points, awards, and, of course, badges. The Badgeville platform will also integrate into a web publisher’s existing online community to both track and share analytics along with changes in user status.
Why the Competition Should Care
If Badgeville can successfully implement and sell its service, its potential growth could significantly increase the size of various online communities. This startup could also conceivably challenge Goliaths such as Facebook. The shock waves of Badgeville ramping up could hit the mobile space quickly.
According to Badgeville, it has raised $2.8 million in funding and had landed $1 million in contract bookings by the end of 2010. Badgeville has also secured more than 25 clients across media, content, and healthcare verticles. Examples include Comcast Sports Group, Philly.com, and TechCrunch. Badgeville said it’s on target to have several hundred customers by the end of 2011. That’s impressive considering that the company was officially formed late last year.