|Tue Sept 4 2012 10:56:29|
eBay D and D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?
By: Julia Wilkinson
eBay is exploring more ways to engage users, and one of them is "gamifying" auctions and other forms of buying on the site (and maybe even selling). According to a piece in VentureBeat, eBay is working with a team of University of California Santa Cruz students to envision ways to push the envelope on future interfaces for transactions on the site.
It's also exploring "playful new dimensions in buyer reputation as well as seller reputation," according to eBay executive Matt MacLaurin, who’s heading up the program, according to VentureBeat. “We already have point systems and reputation,” MacLaurin said. “But we’re exploring. And we’re experimenting around how to put prettier faces on it.”
One of those ways would be to use face recognition technology instead of passwords for users to login to the site on a big public kiosk in say, a big store.
But one of the more interesting ideas that was kicked around is apparently a "Dungeons & Dragons"-style game where users hunt for treasure...and the treasure is actually items on the site which can be purchased.
Games such as Farmville by Zynga are making the company big money (1,266,296 people playing now, according to its home page)...could gaming help online sellers make more money by incorporating it into the selling site's interface? This brought back a memory to me which is one of those "did I really see it?" things. It was at a presentation at an eBay Live conference some years ago, and an eBay exec was showing slides of an experimental interface where bidders were represented by little avatars/faces, and their bidding progress with little bars. That initiative evidently got scrapped for some reason.
In terms of point systems around reputation, Bonanza is already doing things in this space such as tokens and badges in its rewards program.
What do you think? Could gaming become as popular on eBay as it is on Facebook? Would it help sales, even a little? And as a buyer, would you want to engage in a game such as online role-playing or treasure hunts to help you shop? Post a comment here!