Trusted Opinion Lets Users Become Local Area Gurus

Palo Alto based Social recommendations network Trusted Opinion is adding a variety of social gaming elements to its restaurant rating and reviewing site to change the way users participate and are monetized. These gaming elements like badges and leaderboards are emerging as a popular avenue for hooking users long enough so they can discover the true utility of apps and stick with it long-term. Read more after the jump.

Trusted Opinion is betting on adding competitive elements that rewards members with local-area expertise. Asides from badges, users will have access to coins and gifts that encourage community participation and interactions. Members can purchase coins to give virtual gifts and vote on users’ reviews, awarding them with ‘respect’ points. Users will be able to acquire these coins using popular online payment systems like Paypal. Coins can also be earned for performing high value activities.

“While casual users might visit Trusted Opinion to find a new restaurant or review the movie they saw last night, our social elements encourage them to stay on the site and interact,” said Todd Greene, CEO of Trusted Opinion. “These new features are part of our overall strategy to deliver a ratings and recommendations site that engages many types of visitors with fun social experiences and games.”

Users will strive to become ‘gurus’ of their region – local area experts, that will grant them status through the respect points awarded. Actions like these will compel users to return over time, transforming Trusted Opinion into more of a social destination where users can share opinions with their friends. Trusted Opinion’s restaurant review service encompasses over 1.5M reviews from 1M+ members in more than 100 counties and is supported in 43 languages. The site is gaining thousands of members each day and has raised $4.7M in funding to date.

Common game elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and levels are becoming increasingly popular ways to engage customers that encourage profit-driving consumer behavior. However its important to keep in mind that the ‘how’ of game mechanic incorporation is just as important as the ‘why’.

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