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Imagine being able to visit a local business, 'check-in' by taking a picture proving you've made a purchase and receive rewards, including points that can be exchanged for cold hard cash. Looking to cash in on the rise of location-based services like Foursquare, a new service called WeReward wants to bring that experience to the masses.
The pitch to business owners: we'll get consumers to buy from you and give you a way to reward them for their "patronage." WeReward describes its service as "a global loyalty program that you control locally."
Google may not be at the front of the current geolocation charge, but that doesn't mean the search giant isn't interested in taing over. This week Google announced a new feature that it hopes will make users more comfortable sharing their location with Google.
The Google Location History Dashboard gives Latitude users a snapshot of where they've been. That data may just provide some utility for users (and get people more comfortable using Google's location service).
Rumors of Foursquare's acquisition may be greatly exaggerated. Speaking in New York on Monday at Startup 2010, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley was busy making the case for his company staying independent.
Will the company sell in the near future? It's unclear. But to hear Crowley tell it, Foursquare doesn't particularly need a large organization to keep it afloat. In fact, he seems to think Foursquare would be better off not selling.
Foursquare is on a roll. It's got heathly user adoption and very desirable demos, a growing roster of major brands who want to team up for promotions, and plenty of love from the media (not to mention endless speculation about potential suitors?
Now, the white-hot location-based social service is facing problems very much in keeping with the ones Twitter faced at this stage in its development: scale. A word that rhymes with both "fail" and "whale", perhaps the most infamous error page in recent internet memory, and an emblem of how difficult it can be for small start-ups to keep up with rapid growth.
If you're a local merchant with a bricks-and-mortar presence, it's time to kiss the yellow pages goodbye. There's no longer any excuse for not having a web presence or for ignoring digital marketing. Eighty-two percent of people use search engines to find information about local businesses - more than any other media. Even if you don't have a website (you should, but that's another story), there are six sites no local business can afford to ignore.
Not only is getting listed dead simple, it's a great leveler. If you own a pizza place, you can compete head-to-head with national chains like Dominos. Hardware? Go up against Home Depot and Lowes. You get the idea.
Claiming your business and getting listed and on all five of the Big Six should only take an hour or so (though most require you wait for a postcard or phone call o verify that you are who you say you are). Once you've enlisted, and taken advantage of some of the special features these sites offer (mostly for free), you'll reap many advantages. You'll have a presence in organic search results, not only on the web, but also on mobile platforms.
You can offer special deals and inducements to lure new business, you can encourage positive reviews and, to a degree, manage your online reputation. You can precisely map your location and help people to find it, and broadcast your hours of operation. And you'll have access to analytics that can inform you of the keywords used to find your business, the time of day people search for you and other data that can help improve your online presence, offers and advertising and promotional campaigns.
With a near-zero investment of time and money, there's absolutely no excuse to not get started with The Big Six.
The Wall Street Journal may have a long way to go before its new New York section becomes a must-read, but it's making some headway with social media.
When the newspaper launched its new section last month, it also announced a partnership with Foursquare. And while one of my colleagues might disagree with me on this one, I think it was a smart move. And today proved why.
Geolocation-based social network Foursquare just might be the internet's 'next big thing'. While it isn't anywhere close to the size of Twitter or Facebook, the young company last month passed the million user mark.
That's a memorable milestone for any consumer internet startup, but the company's progress is perhaps better measured by the number of marketing deals it has inked with bigger companies. Here are 10 of those deals.
Is Foursquare the next consumer internet startup that's on the verge of making a big mainstream splash? A growing number of print publishers seem to hope it is and are in turn aligning themselves with the young company.
Recently, I detailed the Financial Times' initiative with Foursquare, which will give certain Foursquare users the ability to access FT.com without a subscription at no cost for a limited time.
Austin's music, film and tech festival SXSW came and went this year with much fanfare and documentation. One of the parties following along was Pepsi. The soft drink makers spent its second year tracking social media at SXSW with something called Pepsi Zeitgeist.
Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Flickr updates were all sent to Pepsi's tracking interface, built by Slash7. The results from the event show both the potential for listening in on social media and how much room for growth there is in this burgeoning medium.
The Financial Times is lucky. It's in the minority of newspapers that can legitimately claim to have found 'success' with an internet pay wall. The company's subscribers pay upwards of $180 a year to access content on the Financial Times' website, FT.com, which is behind one of the more solid pay walls around.
But that pay wall isn't impervious; it may be coming down if you're a certain type of mobile internet user in certain geographic regions. That's because, according to Business Insider, the Financial Times will soon launch an initiative with Foursquare that will give some Foursquare users who check into certain businesses in certain locations the ability to access FT.com without a paid subscription.
Some of the world's most recognizable brands collectively spend billions of dollars annually associating themselves with celebrities (movie stars, athletes, etc.). The logic is simple: consumers love celebrities, and by associating with the right ones, brands can generate goodwill and buzz.
Most young internet businesses don't have the moola to ink celebrity sponsorships, but that doesn't mean that celebrities haven't become an important part of the web startup ecosystem. Just look at Twitter.
This week, both Twitter and Facebook have come out with big location news. Twitter is adding geolocation features and Facebook will soon let users share their location. Both of those announcements could strike fear in the heart of a mobile check-in service like Foursquare. But Foursquare is banking its success in the mobile check-in space on attention to detail. And the company also has some new features — that could be very useful for small businesses.
In the next few weeks, Foursquare is going to start sharing a free analytics tool that will help small businesses track — and communicate with — their customers.