August 17, 2010

Facebook - Location Based Social Capabilities

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According to a few sources including All things D, Facebook is expected to announce location based services and networking tomorrow. Beyond the "I am here" while posting capability, the idea that you could roll in some Foursquare and Gowalla fun to the launch is interesting. While Facebook is fairly well understood by many to be the social app that kills all other social apps, Foursquare and Gowalla are not as well known.

Foursquare and Gowalla are social "games" that allow you to "Check in" at various locations, businesses, parks, etc using a mobile phone that is GPS enabled. You score points for that check-in and can leave tips, notes or comments about the business, while showing off to your friends your coolness by hitting all the latest locales. Both games have feeds to your Facebook page so you can show off there too. If you are the leader in checking in at a particular location, you can become the "Mayor" of that business, gaining you a special badge in the game and sometimes a discount offered only to the mayor.

Business Driver - Finally

Location based ads have been in the dreams of many futurists. Finally, there is some location based business developments that are worth paying attention to.

Foursquare has been somewhat successful at getting businesses to offer coupons to visitors who check in there. I recently got 3 cones for $3 at a Ben and Jerry's when the regular price was about $3 each. I didn't plan on stopping by there on a hot afternoon, but while checking in somewhere else, I got a pop-up that indicated that there was an offer nearby. Great way to advertise a business on there. With over 100 million "Check-ins" and an ad deal with Bravo TV, Foursquare isn't just some CrApp that can be tossed in the trash, and appears to be on its way to the mainstream among a younger audience.

Last weekend, The Gap offered all users of Foursquare who Checked In a 25% discount on merchandise. Pretty good for the Gap and pretty good for Foursquare users.


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Facebook Advantage - Scale, Established Relationships

With Facebook wading into location based social networking, there has to be an element of social ranking among strangers and friends in the new features. The advantage for Facebook would be that thousands of businesses already have a relationship with their service offering a Facebook Page where they can post information about their locations, hours of operation and details about products and services creating a stronger relationship with their customers. With a half a billion people using the application/service worldwide, Facebook is a great place to reach potential users of your service, especially if local offers are rolled into the capabilities.

Look for a crush of media reaction tomorrow if/when this rolls out.

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Posted by Scott Martin at August 17, 2010 12:10 PM

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