Out of Nigeria and the UK, Gbamm! bids to become Twitter for football fans

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A global football social community network called Gbamm! has been soft-launched by entrepreneur Ayo Alli, who divides his time between London and Lagos. Asa licensed Premier League Football agent who has already worked on marketing other social networks, he has the skills and connections to make it work. Russell Southwood talked to Gbamm!’s Ayo Alli about what he’s planning.

Two things are happening that make it an auspicious time for a footballing social networking site. The TV habit is changing with people using a second screen device (like a smartphone or tablet) to interact with friends and comment on what’s happening. Secondly, those that can’t get to a live match or TV screen are using the second screen to take part along with their friends and other fans. A detailed global study has already identified these trends elsewhere and they will undoubtedly
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What Alli is setting out to do is to create the best possible circumstances for this kind of social behavious:”Users can form their own groups and there will be white label spaces for brands to get involved. There will be pundits and stats and posts from fans. It will be like a big circle, with lots of little circles for fans of different clubs”.

“Watching football is an inherently social experience, whether you watch at home or in bars or in a stadium. Imagine if you’re on business, you can still interact with people. It will be available on feature phones and smartphones, anywhere you can get the Internet.”

The soft launch is a B2B one targeted at those who control the brand spend. These brand people are among the three groups of initial users. The other two groups are a control group (aged 16-40) who like football and a developer community to help add things into it. Gbamm! draws inspiration from the Woza Blackberry site that was created for the World Cup. “We’re developing Gbamm! in Africa because Africa has a mobile advantage but it’s going to be global.”

There are several online football communities in existence but they have not really taken off as a second screen experience. So Alli believes that the killer app aspect of Gbamm! will be the ability to create different circles of fans, rather like circles in Google+.

It will also have a set of online incentives, Gbamm! cash, an online currency. If you’re team loses you get sent to the bunker but can pay cash to get access again. If you do well, then additional services will become availailable:”There will be the ability to access more and more information and things like fantasy gaming and bespoke emoticons.”

The lead developer is a women called Ade Goode and 40% of the team are women. The initial work is being done in London but the next stage will involve hacker teams in Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg.

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