What do prepaid debit cards and location-based services (LBS) have in common? If a company called Green Dot is right, the answer is 'a lot more than you might think.'
The company, which is a major player in the prepaid debit card space, today announced that it has acquired mobile LBS startup Loopt for $43.4m in cash.
Businesses may be tiring of services like Groupon, and overaggressive retailers may have bargained themselves into a less profitable holiday shopping season, but one thing is for sure: consumers love discounts.
Who can blame them? The global economy nearly collapsed in 2008, and it's been tough since then. Companies eager to separate consumers from their hard-earned dollars have often had little choice but to lure customers in with prices too hard to pass up.
For years, privacy issues have dogged the world's largest social network, Facebook.
From changes that have gradually made the once-closed network more open to the world to advertising programs that were are little too creepy for comfort, Facebook arguably has more experience dealing with privacy flubs than any other company in the world.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Facebook continues to tweak its privacy features, as it preparing to do in a big way soon.
Geolocation is a great tool for personalizing messages to users based on where they're located.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Coca-Cola has applied geolocation to its Facebook Page, which has nearly 34m fans from all over the world.
But last week, the beverage company learned the hard way that a geolocation error can cause big problems on Facebook.
In May 2000, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a number of guidelines designed to help companies stay in compliance with numerous consumer protection laws as they increased their presence on the then-nascent commercial internet.
The FTC's Dot Com Disclosures (PDF) document largely explained how existing laws around advertising and disclosure applied in the context of the internet, and provided some specific examples.
Last week, Apple delivered another tremendous quarter to Wall Street,
and it also delivered a tremendous firestorm in the form of a
highly-public revelation that the iPhone and iPad store location data in an
unencrypted file. The data from this file can be used to effectively
retrace the steps their owners have taken.
The billion-dollar question: do consumers really care? Or, more
specifically, do consumers really care enough to trade in their smart
phones for dumb phones that do less?
During the .com boom, there was a lot of debate and discussion around 'push' versus 'pull'. In the eyes of some, services that were able to successfully anticipate what data users would want or need and push it to them were set to would dominate the nascent information economy.
Yet arguably the most successful company to emerge from the rubble of the bubble is a company built on pull: Google.
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."
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.
Earlier this week I came across a link to Trendsmap.com. On the surface, it's just another program that incorporates a function of Twitter into creating another service. But spend a few minutes with the site and you will quickly realise it is so much more.