I've spent years telling people not to put points and score boards in their software because it distorts social software and gets gamed.
Now, low-grade, poorly thought-out gamification is the trend of the moment and it's sort of driving me nuts.
I absolutely applaud people who are looking for new ways to make their service playful and fun - but competition != play *or* fun.
Competition can be an incredible *disincentive* to participate - when only one person can win out of thousands, why play the game?
My advice for anyone interested in gamification is to think about play, competition with oneself, thousands of different win states.
Finally, any professional will tell you games have a shelf life. If the game is the only reason someone is using your service, it's broken.
If you doubt my thesis by the way, think about the last time you were hideously mismatched in a game. Was it fun?