Monetizing User Karma

A Twitter direct message from a friend suggested to me that I check out Spymaster- a twitter based game that asks you to participate in a global covert espionage war against your...twitter friends.  You won't need a new video card or a crazy detailed mouse for this.

The game is played both on the web and also in the twitterverse, as you can interact with the game via twitter, and the game will update twitter when you do certain things.  Helpfully, the game not only tells the user up front about the possible notifications it will send to twitter, but also lists the rewards available for this permission.

As the user grants permission for more frequent access to his social graph, and a more prominent role for the game in his life stream, the game grants him more points and a more enjoyable (at least theoretically) game experience.

Wouldn't it be nice if more services worked like this?  Told you what kind of engagement they were looking for (for Spymaster, say, it's getting users to both enjoy and publicize the game experience) and amplified the site's response and reward for these activities?

Heavy doses of WIIFM here, to be sure.  Don't you wish your bank thought about this occasionally?

I took a look at who is behind thes site, and it appears to be classifieds site, which had this to say in their blog post called  Got Karma?

What is it?
Karma is the unique point system used by iList to reward users for their activity in the community. Click on “Karma” at the top of each page for a quick rundown.

How do I get it?
Earning Karma on iList is easy: treat others the way you would like to be treated. You want as many people to see your listings as possible, right? Well, so does the rest of iList. If you help others promote their listings they will likely do the same for you. Then, not only will you be rolling in Karma, but you will also have more people viewing your listings.

Other ways to receive points include completing your profile, posting listings, and inviting friends to join the iList community. The more the merrier.

What do I do with it?
You tell us. Now that you’ve got all these points, we want to know what you think you should be able to do with them. We already have a  few of our own ideas simmering on the back burner, but we’d love to hear from you as well. So, if you know you’ve got some great ideas and want your voice to be heard, get to sharing and leave us a comment.

I like firms that understand the value of rewarding visitors, making engagements, even the small ones, matter.  The marketing is part of the user experience-the product isn't just a classifieds site; it's loving customers.  Producing customers who love you?  Now THAT's good Karma.