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Score Tweeting… What’s the solution?

August 30, 2010

Allowing users to tweet about their scores is a great micro-viral addition to any iPhone or web game. EVERYONE wants to know your score, and everyone will rave about how cool you must be to have played that game for so long.

But how to implement it can be more controversial than you would think. You have two options if your game is going to have his functionality. The message your game posts will likely include  score, and a link back to the game… but you need to make a call as to whether to let people edit the tweet before posting or not?

If you don’t let them edit the tweet, you’ll definitely take a hit to the number of people who will post their scores, because a lot of people will not hand over posting rights to a third party. With good reason too, because it can be quite dangerous, as Coca Cola demonstrated quite recently. Furthermore, i means a few extra steps on the users part on top of supplying their username and password, and most people probably won’t bother.

But if you allow people to edit the tweet, then what’s to stop them cheating? They could change their score to anything they like.

So what is the solution? If you’re going to genuinely start a serious Twitter-based high score competition around your game, especially if prizes are involved, then you have no choice but to force users to allow posting access. If you hope that score posting will boost the plays your game gets, then you’re better off letting people edit the posts, but you can’t then use this data for anything useful.

The solution?

Verification codes? A small code, generated from the posters username and score, using a top secret algorithm… then allow the user to edit the tweet at will. At your end, you can check if their score is genuine by putting this data back into your algorithm. This solves the problem of people cheating in high score contests, but not between themselves and their friends. It’s also an extra layer of complexity for both parties (You and the users), and chews into your limited tweet character count.

I think ultimately, if you’re going to have a serious high score competition, Twiter isn’t the place to do it. And as far as allowing users to edit their posts, it depends on how serious you are about the integrity of your data.

Stu xxx

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