Gamification or Spyware?

Gamification or Spyware?

Are You Checking-in or Getting Robbed with Foursquare?

please rob me
please rob me

Foursquare is the mobile application that allows users to “check-in” to locations like Joe’s restaurant, where customers can then earn points and badges to become the “Mayor” of Joe’s restaurant. These points and badges are examples of gamification, and bring real value like status and discounts to the customer. You’re friends see where you check-in, but who else does?

A site called Please Rob Me will show you how non-private your check-in’s – and tweets!- actually are, and how anyone, even people looking to rob you, can use this information for evil.

Win or Lose with FamScape?

FamScape is an online social game for personal wellness created by American insurance company Humana.

FamScape connects users with others in user-created villages, has challenges such as attending yoga classes, practicing music or surfing, and gives users points based on the completion of challenges. The awarded points can be used to acquire in-game items, such as enhancements to the member’s village. In the premium version, members can earn real-world rewards, such as gift certificates and discounts on popular household items. Oh, and it’s free!

Humana says that the purpose of this game is, “to motivate players to achieve healthy-living goals.” Sounds ethical enough, and even fun, right?

However, some claim that health insurers, and others, are using games to collect user data and then sell that data for big bucks. For example, Walgreens data-selling business brings in just around $800 million per year! Barbara Duck wrote a great article called, “Gamification – You have won and now we know all about you“, where in addition to introducing us to some new examples of gamification, she outlines how gamification is being used as a platform to mine data.

“You are the Product”

In conclusion, EnGaming thinks that when it comes to playing for free, and having your data mined, or paying a membership and getting privacy – we’ll take the privacy! There needs to be a shift in consumer thinking to (1) start valuing privacy and (2) expect to pay for virtual goods and services.

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