Q&A with Sitizens.com Founder and CTO Tim Linden
A few weeks ago I started noticing that Sitizens.com was referring a little traffic to my site. It seemed to come in bursts and it piqued my curiosity so I went over to the site and found that Sitizens is an online game where you try to become the King (or Queen) of a domain by visiting it and clicking a little bookmarklet.
When I signed up for Sitizens I noticed they asked for a paypal email address in case they had to send me money. I haven’t seen that since iwon.com used to pay you to surf the web.
I’m pretty sure that Sitizens has huge value for bloggers and I’m trying to wrap my head around how ultimately I’ll use it. I had a bunch of questions for the guys over there and Tim Linden (founder and CTO) was kind enough to answer them all. I hope you enjoy this interview.
I just discovered sitizens.com and I’m not sure I understand exactly what it is. It is a game? A community? A marketing platform?
Sitizens is an online social game. For the end user it’s about having fun, taking control of domains you love, and finding new domains. We come from a marketing background so we see huge opportunities for those savvy enough to utilize Sitizens for their website.
Are bloggers using sitizens? I know that your users are reading blogs (waving to my readers and really grateful that you found me) but I’m not sure how a blogger uses sitizens. Can you provide an example?
So far I’m not aware of a blogger specifically using Sitizens to help them in blogging. It’s mostly been bloggers who find Sitizens is sending traffic to their site and they come by curiosity. The way I see Sitizens helping bloggers is repeat visitors. Everyone who blogs wants people to read their content, I sometimes get frustrated having thousands of people subscribe via email only to get a few comments. Sitizens is literally about coming back to your favorite sites every day. I personally would use Sitizens by having a new blog post every day and putting an ad into the Sitizens ad center. The new content would keep people who come back reading, and the ad center would get more people finding your site while exploring. Then it’s up to you to have valuable enough content that the people exploring decide they want to arrive at your site every day. We’ve got way more to come in the pipeline to allow any site owner to leverage Sitizens however they see fit ;-)
Whose idea was Sitizens? Can you tell me where it came from?
I came up with the idea. I’ve always liked playing a variety of social games online so creating a social game was always something I’ve wanted to do. As a Dad I’ve also had the joy of having two daughters want to be the Queen and fight over who is Queen or who isn’t. I wanted to come up with a game that anyone could play, but they would play because they really really want to hold their turf. What better way than being able to be King or Queen of anything? And when you play with friends there is nothing more enjoyable than calling them up on Skype right after you took their precious domain!
Y’all hang out on G+ a lot talking about your work, do you worry about sharing trade secrets or is it all coding and fart jokes?
We’ve always been a very open company. We learn from others and are OK with others learning from us. People have stolen ideas from us years before we started doing hangouts so hiding behind closed doors doesn’t help anyone. On top of that we’ve had some really fantastic ideas come from people who are watching and chatting with us. So really our trade secret is getting free ingenious ideas from your loyal fans.
What’s the current demographic?
The demographic has actually been the most surprising part. We’ve got women who love shopping, we’ve got men who love gaming, we even have some old people playing. That’s been the most fun, finding all the different types of people out there. For instance, I found one guy who was really into wood working and was King of a ton of wood working sites. I think that’s why it’s so addicting.. You are fighting for the sites you actually like!
Are we all destined to be gamers even if we think we aren’t?
We’re all gamers! Whether we like to admit it or not we all love achieving things and winning things and proving we are better than each other. The only thing that separates us is the ways in which we game. Some people like the nerdy guilds and want to buy items in the store and get their friends together and plan raids on domains. Others like casually playing with their friends and finding neat crests. We try to incorporate social gaming in some aspect or another in all our sites. It’s what makes it fun to come back!
As a complete aside I recommend calling their toll free number at 877-244-3581 and listening to the outgoing message. It’s what made me realize that these guys are nutty enough to actually make something that works.