The Gather API enables websites, apps (desktop/smartphone), anything really, to fully interact with user generated content stored in Gather. The use cases are limitless. Here I’ll show how Gather’s search API can be integrated into a browser-based game to enhance the user experience.
Let’s assume you’ve built an amazing game that has revolutionized in-browser role-playing. It’s called Candide 3D. In the first six months after launch both the game and the community website have been wildly successful. The website community allows users and administrators to create game guides, post tips, answer questions, and more. The community content has become so valuable that your users are asking for a way to access the content from inside the game. The game-play experience, best played full-screen, is hindered when users must: minimize the game, run a community search, commit relevant results to memory, and finally, return the game to full-screen. Certainly not a great user experience. Good thing you chose to build your community with Gather!
Here’s an example screenshot of what we want to end up with:
Online communities and the types of interactions they foster are why the branded online community has become a critical marketing channel for many. According to Wikipedia, an online community is an online social network of individuals who interact with one another to pursue common interests. Among companies that have online communities, the reported benefits include improved customer support quality, a better understanding of customer and prospect needs, higher user engagement, a more loyal customer base, and better cross promotion effectiveness. Research from Forrester indicates 60% of those surveyed have a branded online community and 15% were planning to add one in the following 12 months (1). Why has a branded online community become such a strategic aspect of marketing? We asked clients, partners and industry leaders what are the primary drivers for their companies. Here we share the top five reasons why a branded online community is so important.
Online communities are becoming increasingly popular for building relationships with clients, users and prospects. But companies are finding the current technology lacking in areas like flexibility, extensibility, theming and search. This blog, one in a series covering forum-related terminology, is focused on faceted search.
What is Faceted Search?
Yonik Seeley, the creator of Solr - an open source enterprise search platform written in Java, gives an excellent description of faceted search in his post on the topic. “Faceted search is the dynamic clustering of items or search results into categories that let users drill into search results (or even skip searching entirely) by any value in any field. Each facet displayed also shows the number of hits within the search that match that category. Users can then “drill down” by applying specific constraints to the search results.”
The team at Inversoft is pleased to announce the Early Access Program (EAP) for Gather – The Future of Forum Software. By joining the Gather EAP, you will be able to download a full version of Gather, install it, and kick the tires. You’ll also get access to pre-release updates that will include new features and fixes. This gives you the chance to try new features before they are released.
How to Join
It’s easy to join the EAP – just complete This Form to create your account and get access to a EAP license and the Gather downloads. Once you download Gather, read through our Installation Guide to get it setup. You can also check out our API Documentation to learn about the Gather’s API that will change the way you think about forums.
Facebook is no longer a viable option for companies looking to foster a strong online relationship with their customers and prospects. In a previous blog post we discussed the diminishing reach of Facebook for companies trying to engage their users and grow their businesses. The natural next question will be – “Great, so if Facebook isn’t working, what is the solution?” Increasingly, companies are creating their own branded online communities.
Return on Investment (ROI) will be a factor to consider, as with any business decision. Building a community will take time, resources and money so a company will need to see a return on that investment. There are a variety of factors that can be measured depending on the focus of your community. For example, many companies establish a support community to reduce support costs through call deflection. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Inversoft, 46% of respondents indicated they consider ‘reducing support costs’ to be a major benefit of forums. If the focus of your online community is increasing your sales, how much more business could you gain by having your customers participate in your own branded online community versus a 3rd party platform like Facebook?