EVO Media’s Geoff Nuval Talks About the New DevHub, Adding Fun to Business, and the Future of Gamification

7/15/10Follow @gthuang

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Whereas before we had a one-size-fits-all editor, DevHub now actually has four individual game tracks that guide you through building a specific type of site: a blog, a small business site, a site you want to promote affiliate products on, or a social media profile (what we call your WebHub). We also have a number of social features via tight integrations with Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to post to [Facebook] or tweet about what you did at any time in the site building or blogging process.

There are a lot of other cool features coming very soon as well. We’ll be opening up the marketplace to allow designers outside of EVO to put up their templates for sale to other DevHub users. We’ll be providing an API for programmers to create modules of their own and also put it in the marketplace. We’ll allow multiple authoring so that more than one person can contribute to a website and their contributions can be tacked (via points!). I guess I could go on and on about all the new neat features on the gamified DevHub but it’s really something you need to play through to understand the full change in experience.

X: Can you give a quick update on how the company is doing? A year ago, we thought of you as a publishing platform to help people and companies build and manage niche websites. What’s new in terms of your revenues, market, etc.?

GN: In terms of our target market, it is now expanded to covering anyone who needs to build a site on the Internet. We make money from DevHub in two ways: we take a small share from sites that contain our partners’ products and ads on them (the majority goes to the user) and we make money from purchase of DevHub dollars to buy things in the marketplace. This latter monetization stream is actually predicted to be our biggest driver of profit since our marginal cost to a virtual good (special template, premium module) is zero.

We are on the expansion path, however, as we need even more engineering power to help us handle the white label gamification deals we’re closing and we have huge plans to heavily market the DevHub platform to the masses as it is already showing mass appeal. To that, we are actually on the fundraising trail right now to the tune of $2-$3 million.

X: How are you working with Seattle-based BigDoor Media, and others, to bring game mechanics to websites and website-building? Where exactly do you fit in the gamifying spectrum?

GN: BigDoor Media is one of our partners in the gamification industry, and we use their system as our game database (site-building data and monetization data is still kept on our side). When we were in a crunch to launch our gamified version of DevHub on time, we were able to use their database to rapidly structure our game economy, levels, points system, and marketplace. Using their system helped us shave about two months off of our development time and they’ve been awesome to work with!

Given what we’ve been able to create with DevHub using BigDoor’s gaming database, we are also in talks regarding helping BigDoor’s other clients with the analysis and creative work needed to successfully gamify a website or system. I would kind of think of it like BigDoor provides the back-end for gamification while EVO provides the integration, creative, and front-end implementation for the gamification process.

X: How big a market is this really, and what is your biggest challenge going forward? One issue I’m hearing about is that there may not be much consumer cash flowing into these sites.

GN: To the contrary, there is actually a lot of consumer cash going into online gaming—loads actually. I have seen some poorly implemented gamified systems spring up recently, and for those implementations that lack tight viral and micropayment loops, there’s probably very little money in it for them. I’ve also heard other online game systems pull in as much as $20 per average user, so really I think it greatly depends on the quality of implementation.

The success of Zynga is a perfect bellwether of the game storm, but their players are never really creating something of value. Everything they do or purchase remains contained within the confines of their game’s virtual world. What’s novel about DevHub is that by playing a game they end up with an actual website, a property that can be use to inform customers, further your personal online brand, gain a readership base, or generate income. Imagine that, a game that pays you? Because DevHub can provide this connection to real value, our users are more inclined to pay for virtual goods in our marketplace.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://www.attenture.com Ian Goldsmid

    Very interesting – and a great idea put into action !

    What wasn’t clear was an answer to the question: Can I use devhub to create a website that itself uses game mechanics? I am thinking of building several gamified web properties – including a gamified Q&A site like stackoverflow …is that possible with devhub?

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