Badgeville Brings Gamification to Drupal Communities

It’s a classic quandary — getting people to participate in online communities can be hard, but getting people to participate well in online communities is even harder.

To that end, behavioral management platform Badgeville has announced a new effort to bring its engagement-fostering gamification service to Drupal communities that want to reward their users for quality participation.

There have been lots of efforts through the years to solve the problems of encouraging and rewarding positive participation (and discouraging trolling), from venerable Slashdot’s karma system to StackOverflow’s escalating access mechanism, and now newer gamification schemes aim to incentivize community interaction. Badgeville (which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt back in 2010 and recently locked up an additional $25 million in funding) isn’t exactly the first to run with the concept, but the service’s momentum can’t be denied — Oracle, EMC, Dell, Samsung, and (full disclosure) AOL are just a few of the names on Badgeville’s client roster.

Badgeville for Drupal adds new Drupal admin features that allow site operators to define the kinds of operations to reward (posting, commenting, voting, etc), as well set point values for each of those particular behaviors. The goal, obviously, is to make it a more rewarding experience for site visitors to engage in more interesting ways. The importance of this move is only really apparent when you consider that Drupal’s highly-customizable nature (it’s open-source to boot) has endeared it to many companies that could stand to benefit from solid user/viewer engagement — think Fast Company, and Popular Science for example.

Chris Lynch, Director of Product Marketing at Badgeville, tells me that enterprise Drupal users are “a huge use case for us.” Lynch points out that enterprise social adoption is staggeringly low, “because people don’t feel recognized or acknowledged for going into those applications and performing high-value behaviors.” He continues:

With Badgeville, by recognizing people with rewards and achievements tied to their area of expertise, people will be more likely to engage with their social software of choice — in this case Drupal — because it’s been acknowledged at an organizational level with smart gamification elements.

While Badgeville’s pricing starts on what looks like the high side of things (upwards of $2,000 USD per month), Lynch points out that even moderately-sized Drupal users can benefit from their solution. “If you cannot afford full-time community managers and social media marketing managers to foster engagement, layering gamification on top of the experience is actually a fairly cheap proposition in comparison,” he told me.