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Achievements - Winning the Internet

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Achievements seem to be popping up in every new web service. Why? Because achievements make you win the Internet. Okay, not really, but it does make your user feel more engaged into your web site. It gives the user a reason to use your site and do more things on your site. The best part is the achievements do not even need to be all that difficult. Really the hardest part about implementing an achievement system into your web site is finding a good graphic designer to whip up some images. Here is a breakdown on how other sites user achievements and ways you can implement achievements into your site
  • Kongregate is a Flash game portal with an achievement API developers can tap into. Users sign up, play games, win achievements within different Flash games and earn badges. Each badge is worth so many points and the more points you earn the higher level your account becomes. Kongregate even links certain achievements to GameStop rewards for real-life bonuses.
  • GetGlue is a social "check-in" service based around what you are watching or reading. GetGlue is essentially a great marketing plug for television networks, movie company's, and book publishers. GetGlue calls it's achievements "stickers", which you earn by checking into a show, movie, or book so many times or on a certain day. For example, if you check into a television show on the airing of a new show, chances are you'll earn a sticker to show off you "were there."
  • Foursquare is another social "check-in" based based around where you are; are you at Starbucks? Or are you at Chili's? You earn points by checking in which helps you beat friends in a weekly "battle" to see who received the most points.  Achievement's on Foursquare range from when you check-in to a certain place (like a bar at 2am) or with a lot of people (swarm badge I believe is 150 people) or by adding a "shout" to your check-in (adding "it's a boy" in a hospital is one achievement.)
  • Klout is a service that puts a number to your social influence. In this example, Klout isn't an engaging social service per se, but provides achievements to user activity. If you visit the site for a few days in a row, you're awarded. If you try out all the different features, you're rewarded. As your score goes up, you earn achievements.
I'm sure there are tons of other examples on badges being used in web sites, I think MySpace even adopted some. But, as you can see, achievements are a way to help engage your users into your web site.

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