Friday, March 20, 2009

Managing multiple Inkling sites

Having purview over lots and lots of Inkling marketplaces means we get to see meta-trends in how people use our product.

One trend we've been mindful of for awhile is the duplication of questions in many of these marketplaces. While our clients are busy asking questions related to their business operations, competitors, and industry segment, they also ask timely, "fun" questions according to what's going on in popular culture and business across the globe to keep their marketplace fresh and active. For example, questions on public policy and politics, financial market performance, industry-wide metrics, who is going to win American Idol, and soccer match results in Europe and Latin America are concurrently being run across dozens of marketplaces .

Coincidentally we also have a vibrant public marketplace where many of these questions are being asked every day and where the same traders and administrators who are using our private marketplaces are registered because that's where they first experienced Inkling.

Finally, add to the equation the terrific publicly available Inkling marketplaces that have their own niche audiences that many of our public marketplace users also enjoy participating in.

Taking all this in to consideration we decided to introduce two new capabilities:

  • A "marketplace switcher" allowing you to hop from any marketplace you are registered in, to another; and
  • The ability to replicate a market from one marketplace in to another

Marketplace Switcher

If you belong to multiple Inkling marketplaces and use the same email address or openid amongst those marketplaces, you'll now be able to click on the marketplace's name in the upper right hand of the screen like this:

Inkling's Public Prediction Markets

And a drop down will appear like so:

Picture 9

When you click on a marketplace in the menu, you'll be taken to it. Simple as that. And if you've discovered open-id you don't even have multiple usernames and passwords at these different marketplaces. Sweet.

And of course each person will have different marketplaces available in their marketplace switcher depending on where they've already registered and what email address they used. If you belong to multiple marketplaces but used different email addresses, you can always go into settings and start using the same email address to take advantage of the marketplace switcher.

Replicate Markets From Any Marketplaces

If you have multiple marketplaces in your switcher, now you can replicate any market from one marketplace to another.

Let's go through an example. Just like many of our clients do, we run a private marketplace (The Inkling Labs Marketplace) where company employees, friends, and colleagues trade on the performance of features and project ideas we're thinking of rolling out. Sometimes we even ask some of these questions in our public marketplace first, then ask them in Inkling Labs.

A week or so ago on our public marketplace, we published a market about how many people would use a feature called "pages" or "spaces" that would allow someone to group a bunch of markets together and provide meta data and a discussion area about that group of markets:

We thought this would be a great market to run on Inkling Labs as well. So all we have to do is hover over the market listing:

Picture 6

Hover over the options menu and select "Create Replica..."

Picture 8

And a box pops up letting us choose which marketplace we can replicate this market to:

Picture 11

Assuming we're logged in to the target marketplace, we're sent to a confirmation screen:

Picture 12

We click continue and the market is replicated on another marketplace!

Make any other tweaks needed (e.g. expiration date, further details, etc.) and we can then submit it for publishing or publish it directly if we're administrators.

This obviously can also work the other way. If you're from ACME Corp. and have a question you would like to pose to the general public, replicate it to our public marketplace and submit it for publishing.

We've been using these new features ourselves quite a bit the past couple days and hope you'll find them valuable as well - especially since publishing new markets on a regular basis is one of the keys to a successful marketplace. We've made it dead easy so no more excuses!

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