If there is one thing that online bingo companies are quick to identify it is trends, and recently there has been a marked trend in computer usage that has had a major impact on all areas of society. The vast increase in usage of social networking sites, such as Facebook, has meant that many people are now using these sites for a wide range of activities and bingo companies have not been slow in reacting to this change in social dynamics.
Of course, bingo has always been a social game. Ever since it was first played in Italy, France and Germany, refined in the United States at the start of the 20th century and its ensuing popularity in pubs and clubs across the world, the social side of bingo and the ability to play with friends have long been key attractions of playing. Indeed, many players feel that this side of bingo is more important to them as players than actually winning!
It was a lesson that bingo companies, such as bingoport.co.uk, have learned well. Initially, many bingo companies started out as mere gaming portals on the Internet, offering the chance to play a game of bingo and little else. These sites were only modestly successful, chiefly because the social element of the game was missing.
Over time, bingo companies quickly moved with the times to ensure that their players found their social needs were met on the bingo site. Chat rooms were installed so players could chat with friends, or make new friends, as they played. Useful tools for players, such as an automatic daubing feature, which marked your numbers for you automatically freeing you up to chat or read through the posts on the forum, became widely used. Bingo sites, it seemed, had become a new form of social networking.
Despite the success of bingo sites, there was the very real problem of how to expand the user base for companies. Advertising can prove to be expensive and at times a very hit and miss affair. What was needed was a platform for bingo companies to showcase their technology, sites and games to the wider public. A platform which would be used by vast numbers of not only bingo players, but people who had never played bingo but who may start to enjoy the game if given a chance to experience it.
Therefore, the popularity of sites like Facebook has opened up a completely new avenue of opportunity for some bingo companies.
The reason for this is because Facebook operates a strictly no-gambling policy for its games and applications. Of course, for many highly commercial bingo sites, profitability is a key issue and as such, Facebook is not the ideal place to develop an application for.
This news, however, is a boon for sites like bingoport.co.uk and Wonder Bingo as they have developed their own free bingo apps on Facebook that are completely free to play for Facebook users. All the potential user has to do is join the application on their Facebook account and click on it to play bingo free of charge!
The benefit of this for the bingo company is two-fold: firstly, they introduce a whole new demographic of players to their bingo games completely free of charge. This allows the players to enjoy the game of bingo, within the Facebook terms and conditions, and then allows the player to decide whether they want to click onto the parent bingo site and play for real money or not.
The second advantage is that it gets great publicity for bingo companies through a popular and fashionable medium. With so many bingo sites now in operation, a quick Google search can mean that some of the top sites get lost amongst other sites that may not offer the same level of service or quality. On Facebook, this does not happen as a large number of companies only interested in profit are not prepared to invest money in an area that does not produce immediate returns.
Companies like Wonder Bingo and bingoport.co.uk have recently launched their own specific Facebook bingo apps which are then linked back to the parent sites. Best of all, with bingoport.co.uk being the largest independent free bingo community in the UK, they are handily placed to provide expert reviews of all paying bingo sites, as well as providing their own free games.
Bingo has and will always be a social game, the new generation of players may be playing from their home via their PC, but the essence of the game as a social event remains unchanged and long may that continue to be the case.