Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to perform certain behaviors. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of impulses which revolve around the idea of Status, Achievement, Power and the acquisition of stuff. The Gartner research organization predicted that by 2015, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay, or Amazon, and more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application
The oldest example of gamification are Frequent Flyer Programs that airline companies offer as a part of their customer loyalty programs. Gamification is a term first coined in 2003 by Nick Pelling, but did not gain popularity until 2010. The term gamification began to gather interest when companies such as netvillage.com started using it to describe their behavior platforms. Gartner spurred the popularity of gamification by saying that "More than 50 Percent of Organizations that Manage Information Processes Will Gamify Those Processes"
Netvillage combines gamification and social networking, another recent engagement philosophy. This takes advantage of two powerful human motivators: the psychological predisposition to engage in gaming, and the desire to socialize with other people. The integration of them will give you the competitive edge. Check them out at netvillage's gamification services