Engage in Fandom, Win Valuable Points!

If I were a sports fan not yet there I’d be heading over to check out still-in-beta site FanIQ.com, a which bills itself as “sports talk with a score:”

The Web site, less than a year old, tracks predictions made by media experts and allows fans to create accounts and make predictions. The results of a fan’s predictions are tallied and each user’s score is posted to display their prowess or lack of. (TheState.com)

The site was started by Ty Shay, who used to be the chief marketing officer for hotwire.com, and who offers this origin tale:

Ty was frustrated that there wasn’t an easy way to track the sports predictions he constantly made with his brother. After talking with other fans, he soon realized that accountability for sports predictions was a far bigger problem which included paid “sports experts” and message boards. The FanIQ community is the result of these insights.

This seems like a really clever way to give fans a combination of a game to play, a way to build greater social status/credibility/social capital that takes advantage of their favorite hobby, and a platform for hanging out and socializing with other fans. I like that it is set up to allow users to engage the site in ways that vary in how structured and how social they are. Fans can focus only on their own scores vs the experts, play against one another individually or in leagues, talk in forums, and more. It’s also interesting to strategically pit ‘average fans’ against the mainstream sports media. How long will it be before some of the people who emerge as especially good prognosticators on this site find themselves becoming “paid sports experts?” The site is free and has no advertising, so it’ll be interesting to watch how it fares in the long run. If anyone reading this is spending time on fanIQ please leave a comment with your take on the site.

If sports aren’t your thing but celebrities are, try this alternative, Fafarazzi. As they describe it on the site:

Fafarazzi.com is a Fantasy Celebrity League. Instead of points being scored for homeruns and touchdowns they’re scored for divorces and catfights!

Me, I’m just not competitive enough to do fandom for points.

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