Decoding Social Networks with Angel Munoz

Angel Munoz joined the interactive entertainment industry in 1995 by launching the first
world-class online publication for video games and in June 1997 launched the world’s
first sports league for video gamers, which helped propel the multibillion dollar esports
industry. Recently, Angel has focused his attention on the intersection of video game
culture and social media technology, launching Gaming Tribe earlier this year with the
global support of Logitech G and AMD Gaming.

new-photo-down
1. Tell us more about Gaming Tribe and how it stands out from the crowd.
The Gaming Tribe social media network first started as an authentication system to our
popular giveaways, but last year we realized that we had a unique opportunity to
augment the experience of our followers by providing them a next-generation social
media environment.
On March 10, 2014 we launched Gaming Tribe 4.0 with a number of social media
elements that are similar to other social networks, i.e. liking, sharing, commenting,
posting, etc. Although to address our core demographic we gamified a few aspects of
the social interface.
First, we introduced a verification process, which rewards members for completing their
profiles and remaining active on the network. Close to 1,000 members completed the
somewhat rigorous verification process and have received a special icon badge,
unlocked the ability to upload photos to the network, and are entered into exclusive
promotions.
Secondly, we created Loot Drop, a patent-pending technology that randomly rewards
users with a sponsored prize just for being active on the network. The Loot Drop
interface is unique and fun. Here’s a short video of a live Loot Drop on Gaming Tribe


We’ve also created a number of leaderboards, a badge system to recognize either an
accomplishment or status, and a cover subscription system that permits members to
subscribe to a sponsor’s cover image and help promote the network’s sponsors. I refer
to this option as “reverse-advertising.” Thus far, over 10,000 members have opted to
display sponsor cover images on their Gaming Tribe profile pages, which have resulted
in two million additional views.
We’ve over-engineered Gaming Tribe for the most demanding audience in the world,
but also wanted the experience to be fun, engaging and unique. The real highlight may
just be the almost complete absence of spam, trolls or unsavory posts on the network,
partly due to our unique policy requiring members to use real names, addresses and
profile photos. As an added benefit, a great number of female gamers have also joined
Gaming Tribe, and in their own words feel “safe and relaxed” while interacting with other
members of the community.

2. What are some highlights of the Gaming Tribe technology?
Our backend is primarily written in PHP. Our servers run Lighttpd web server behind
HAProxy load balancers. We use both MySQL and MongoDB as primary database
systems. We cache all the content using Redis in-memory storage and our delayed
processing is powered by messaging queue from RabbitMQ. The backend is written in
Java for processing logs and managing APIs. We use Node.js with Socket.io to keep a
direct connection to all online users. Our search indexing is powered by Lucene, which
is wrapped by an ElasticSearch API. There are also some Python scripts for processing
logs. The frontend uses jQuery to manage DOM manipulations and Bootstrap for UI
consistent elements.
We’ve developed several proprietary modules to make browsing of Gaming Tribe faster
and more enjoyable. One of them is Rocket Speed Technology™ which is a proprietary
system consisting of several layers of caching and data storage allowing fast feed
generation on-the-fly. A more recent development is Fast Load Technology, which
works on the frontend and backend and speeds up navigation by minimizing the amount
of data being sent to the user for each page. Besides reducing network traffic it also
helps save some processing power and data transmission on mobile devices by
preventing an entire page from re-rendering during navigation.
A month ago we re-launched Gaming Tribe using Responsive Web Design (RWD),
which provides an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices – from
mobile phones to desktop computer monitors. We believe that we are the first social
media network to be fully optimized for any screen size, eliminating the need to use a
dedicated application for accessing our network from a mobile device.

3. Privacy is a key discussion point in social media networks today; we’ve found
Gaming Tribe’s privacy policy to be one of its key aspects. Could you tell us more about it?

We have three solid principles that guide our privacy policy. They are:
1) We never sell or share user data with advertisers, sponsors or third parties.
2) We do not display advertisement on the network.
3) We enforce a real-name policy, but allow users full control over their personal
information, including the ability to delete their information from our servers.

Out of the three principles the one that seems to attract the most attention is a
member’s ability to completely delete a profile and related activities from our servers.
Once again we believe that we may be the only social media network with this unique
feature. The deletion is permanent and irreversible, as some of our members have
discovered while giving that option a test. 🙂

4. We’ve seen social spikes for new networks like Ello and then they slowly fade
away. How are you maintaining a stable, positive growth?

We think their disappearance from the landscape is due to the fact that all of the new
social networks choose to emulate Facebook, and think they can take on the giant of
social media.
We on the other hand created a laser-focused network about technology and video
games that we believe is complimentary to Facebook and Twitter. We have grown to
almost 250,000 members through word of mouth, without relying on advertising or mass marketing. Our renowned giveaways do help get some new people through the door,
but most members remain on our network to stay connected with our global community.
Our steady, calculated growth allows us the opportunity to scale our services without
the constant downtimes of other new networks. We plan ahead, before hitting
bandwidth or server limits, and now we’re preparing our global infrastructure for a more
rapid rate of growth during 2015.

5. Connecting your social network to wearables, now that’s being a really early
adopter of technology! What are your thoughts on that?
In our opinion technology wearables are, without question, the next technological
frontier. Therefore, we registered early to become a software developer for the Razer
Nabu. I have been testing the Nabu myself, and really like the discreet notification
system of this smartband and Razer’s open development platform.
We see enormous potential to use wearable technology for our community, for example
as a way to identify other Gaming Tribe members while in proximity to each other,
become instant friends on the network with a simple gesture (like a high-five) and
receive discreet notifications of network messages and alerts.

 

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Shashwat Pradhan

Founder of Emberify, a technology startup behind the world's leading lifelogging and Quantified Self Platform- Instant. To learn more visit emberify.com

  • GamerFX

    I always want a Social networking site for gamers like Facebook. With the last update, GT has almost all the options in Facebook. Also GT is faster than FB for me.

    • Kelly Wasden

      Agreed.This has been an amazing addition to the gaming community and looking forward to see where we go from here. Well said Angel!

  • Raymond Paul Valencia

    GT is simple, fast and does the job of connecting gamers. A really really awesome idea doing this Angel. Thank you

  • Brad Barkulis

    Love the focus of Angel and GT.

  • Tim Rhyne

    Angel is a mastermind with not only his vision for the advancement of social media, but the team he employs to help with the task is unrivaled as well. I’ll highlight Teodor Atroshenko — ML’s Vice President of Social Media Technology. He has an unwavering dedication to hashing out the bugs inside of all the aforementioned technology. When phase one of the RWD was launched, he spent nearly two days constantly touching base with me to get it properly functioning on a relativity unknown mobile phone that I use. This passion the team working on Gaming Tribe has for their technology translates to a degree of customer service inside the social media realm light-years ahead of other players inside the market.

    • Barry Bradshaw

      when Angel puts his mind to something he makes it happen 🙂

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharif.sircar sharif sircar

    hmm

  • Kevin

    I like the privacy policy, but sometimes I wish I could hide my last name (and if I can then I must not have seen it).

  • Test

    Well, for staters, GT members are extremely nice, they give valuable insight especially to first time computer builders, they’ve also been actively holding community get-togethers, the last time one was on Team Fortress, GT offers great give-aways as well, but it is just the icing on the chocolate cake :3

  • Bill Cooke

    Tying up ends with persons of the sam intrest is fantastic

  • Erika Warnes

    A great interview. Angel Munoz is eloquent, as ever. It touches all on the great things about the GT community (except maybe sharing). Members take it one step further and frequently gift games to other members. It’s nice to part of a social media network where people are open and supportive and share a common passion.

    • Rob

      I agree 100 percent!

  • Rob

    Love the advancements that have been made and continuing the advancements for better Q.O.S. for the users and the gaming community in general. Most people are extremely judgmental on people who game and think they are lazy, so it is nice to be able to get on here with any questions or comments without that judgement. Keep up the good work!

  • http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf4/platoons/view/8458317429707337979/ Skater_Ricky

    I hope you never change your three solid principles or I would have to sadly leave your site and the community. Keep up the good work. God Bless.

  • Paolo

    I think that privacy is a social network’s base and GT’s privacy is built really good!

  • Ray

    I would like to know if GT is a singular cluster server system at this time, or small clustered servers in various locations? Just an environment build out for distributive process and access speed.

  • Michael Hurley

    it’s great to see a real leader running this site with policies that benefit the user. well done.

  • mouine10

    just never change your principles and keep up the good work .

  • Andrew Young

    Mr. Munoz has built a great foundation for a gaming community.

  • Madlilith

    Thanks for the interview

  • Martin Lewis Navarro

    Truly an honor to have a social networking site for gamers, a gamers’ haven.

  • Don Dominic Mathew

    nice!!!!!!!!!!

  • voxmagna

    The Page has come a long way… No, we have come a long way and still growing and enjoying what we all love, gaming.

  • Jordan Green

    It’s nice to see something different.

  • Юрий Леденко (Yuriy Ledenko)

    Angel, you are a great man!

  • Bruno Perdigao

    This guy is the coolest guy in the business !

  • Stelios Chorianopoulos

    Amazing idea and Magnificent work from a incredible person and very skilled too “””” Angel Munoz “”” was seeing to the future and Invest in it …. The creation of Gaming Tribe Community is the most Spectacular idea ..touches the most fictional and unrealistic dreams …!!! And it’s way too better from Facebook (which is an impersonal community) at least in GT Community… the members have the apportunity to develop our opinions and exchange our views to each- other….. and the most important to help each-other ….. !!!

    Thank you so much ” Angel ” for all this effort to creat something So beautifull…. with the support of Logitech G and AMD Gaming… !!!

  • Grant Brewington

    awesome @!

  • Gene Morizzo

    i am an older player really just starting to learn how to be a gamer and Angel and his staff have given me and real gamers a place to interact . i learn about games and technology and get to expand my knowledge just being a member of the Tribe . as always , thanks angel and crew . now back to learning the tomb raider games . lol

  • suzanne esaine

    Your work is so appreciated!! Keep it up.

  • http://meep.ml/ meepindoofer1

    I find that most gamers want a online social experience away from videogames, but that doesn’t mean they want to have to endure it if their gaming bro, or sis, is a selfie fiend. The reason that I say this is because, on gaming tribe, there is a distinct push towards games, and a lesser tolerance of the standard social buzz. One other nice thing is that, if you want to post gaming related content, and your mom checks your Facebook constantly, you have a place to do it and not have mom ask why you were doing gaming stuff while you were supposed to do homework or chores.

  • diyan tuban

    Great People with Great Team make Great thing for Great Community, and i am proud become one of GT

  • Just A simple Guy

    This is Awesome!! Now contacting other via phone will now be easy ^_^

  • gericc22

    I’ve used GT now more than FB because of more interaction between people 😀

  • Lucas Nascimento

    perfect

  • praack

    the bigger issue is engagement, loot drop helps but i feel if the manufacturers can move some of the people in their in-house forums to the new platform it would enrich the experience and assist by embedding the platform into the both the sales and support infrastructure.

    as it is i don’t get much from the review of comments in the system as of yet, and the lack of posting by the companies displays their reluctance in supporting the new software.

  • Norbert Révész

    Very good! Keep it

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