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My first thought was "Xbox Achievements for the Internet". This may be a good 1-sentence elevator pitch for certain audiences.

Definitely think working with the partner sites to make the end-user experience as transparent as possible is the way to go. Also want to make it very easy for partners to hook in to your system (e.g., simple API calls around their existing login/event logging process).

This may sound silly, but you want better icons/eye candy for your badges. They should be things you want to collect.

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