At the recent SXSW conference, we handed out free Google Reader T-shirts to people based on how many Reader items they'd ever read... in their whole life. We knew that free shirts would be a hit, but we learned something much more important: a lot of people have read a lot of items. (At an average of thirty seconds per item, the most prolific readers had spent more than 180 full days of their lives perusing stuff on Reader — what Blogger gives, Reader takes away)
After the conference, several of us felt like shirts didn't seem like enough of a reward for all the valuable hours people have spent trolling through so many feeds. One thing led to another, we did a few calculations, drank a few too many cups of coffee, and today we're happy to announce Google Reader's first rewards program: ReaderAdvantage™.
The ReaderAdvantage™ program is simple. You get one point for each item you read. The more you read, the more you get. Then you can trade in your points for cool stuff. And because we believe in a little friendly competition, there are four levels of ReaderAdvantage™ status:
- Novice: 999 points
- Gold: 25,000 points
- Platinum: 133,700 points
- Totally Sweet: 314,159 points
We considered inventing a secret ReaderAdvantage™ handshake, but instead we created embroidered badges to ensure that members can easily identify their compatriots.
If you use Google Reader, there's no reason not to join. Visit the ReaderAdvantage™ site to read all the details and enroll today. As always, please send us your thoughts and feedback in our forum or on Twitter.