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New social app Nomino turns photo sharing into a rewarding game

People are always sharing photos on social media for their friends to see — pictures of events they are attending, of personal triumphs and accomplishments, of an adorable puppy they saw in front of a coffee shop, etc. And in the end, all a person can do is ‘like’ and comment on the photos and move on to the next interesting thing. What if there was a way to turn that experience into a game, giving more interactive use to those photos?

Dulé Hill, co-founder of Nomino
Photo by 16BitsOfAwesome. Logo used with permission of Nomino via Propheta Communications

This is exactly what Nomino achieves.

Nomino is a new social game where a user is challenged to solve a riddle associated with the subject of a photo or video. In doing so, he or she can earn coins that can then be redeemed for real-world prizes.

Nomino was founded by Dulé Hill (best known for his acting roles on Broadway and television shows such as Psych or The West Wing), Talitha Watkins (Vice President of Multicultural Marketing at Universal Pictures), and Rochelle Thwaites (Designer and founder of Mimeki, a designer line of luxury handbags).

“Collectively we noticed avid photo sharers craved more than a 'like' or share,” said Watkins. “People will always drive the FOMO phenomenon by posting their whereabouts. Yet, for those users who want more, Nomino makes photo sharing fun, sticky and more engaging.”

And this shows in the numbers. The app was downloaded over 3,000 times within the first 48 hours of its release on the App Store, and at the time of this writing, Nomino users have uploaded over 30,000 challenges.

Although users can challenge their followers, it looks like Nomino was created with a focus on branded content. With the app, companies can post challenges centered around their brand. In the same vein, advertisers can also offer prizes for placement in organically-aligned challenges. Nomino also has scavenger hunts, which are location-based challenges in which a user attempts to find the subject of the photo challenge, captures their own photo of it, and submits that photo in order to gain more coins. Advertisers can create scavenger hunts based on their brand, further driving brand interaction. An example of this would be to create a challenge asking users to go to a certain store and take a picture with a product display.

So far, Nomino has partnered with Sol Republic, Monster Digital, and Psych to provide such content.

“We gamified photo sharing and married it to a passive marketing platform that doesn’t harass users,” said Thwaites. “Our marketing partners reap benefits without souring the user experience.”

“The whole idea about Nomino is that it is deeper engagement,” said Hill, “instead of just showing sponsored tweets of Facebook ads, where most of the time (at least for myself) I just roll right through them. But this game is organically made for people to engage in what is being posted. If you show me an ad and ask me a question about it, I'm going to take in the ad that much deeper just to answer that question about it. It's fun because now you're not just talking at me, but engaging me.”

Companies interested in being a sponsor for Nomino can contact them at

Nomino is free to users, and currently available for iOS and is slated for Android release sometime in the second half of 2014.

You can find more information about the app at and on their Twitter page, @MyNomino. You can also watch the full interview with Dulé Hill here.

“Like any startup, we are pushing a boulder up a hill,” said Hill. “However, the users that have reached the app already really seem to be enjoying it. I think that as we continue to grow and expand, it's going to be a place that people can come and have a lot of fun.”

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