I am the first to admit that I adore Foursquare
and can't imagine anything changing that, but I'm also fascinated to see more interesting geo-location services emerging that I kind of like too :). Foursquare is definitely now the dominant player in the whole "check in" craze but there are several more services which could very well give it a run for its money.
A quick recap for those of you who got lost at "geo-location". Foursquare and other "geo-location" services are apps you run on your smart phone that let you share your location with friends; earn points, badges, discounts and freebies by doing certain activities; and leave tips and information about places you visit for other people to find. I believe this trend gives us some of the best marketing tools I have seen to date to help businesses actually drive foot traffic to their locations.
Now, for the other players I recommend keeping an eye on:
! It works very similarly to Foursquare, but lets businesses set up challenge for users to complete to earn rewards. Maybe you have to eat a burrito in 15 minutes to get a free one or maybe you have to name all of Starbucks "sizes" to get a free drink. Get creative, think about what you want your customers to do/see at your location. Have them do that, make it fun and then give them something for it. Win/win if you ask me.
You can also create "treks" which requires people visit multiple locations to complete. Several movies, including "Eat, Pray, Love" have partnered with SCVNGR to set up treks related to the movie for users to complete to earn points.
Note, SCVNGR is Google backed, and has been very creative in its partnerships and functionality so expect it to come on strong in the next few months.
Recently downloaded Yelp
to my iPhone to try its check in feature and was surprised at how much I liked it. What's great about Yelp is that you've got ready access to reviews from the website of whatever venue you're visiting and it will let you take and upload a photo as well. Comes in handy to snap pics of your nicely presented dinner or that fly in your taco :).
The app also has a nice interface. It did copy Foursquare's "mayor" concept with Duke and Duchess, but I have to admit that it's kind of funny to say you're the Duke of Starbucks.
3) Facebook Places
I do NOT like Facebook Places, because it's boring (see previous post
). All it lets you do is check in and share that on Facebook which all the others already let you do. There's no "fun" component to it. But, I can't leave it out since Facebook is only THE most popular website in the world. I do think simply because of the numbers it has a reasonable chance to challenge Foursquare.
A few others are Loopt, Brightkite and Gowalla, but I've tried them, and while their offerings are each slightly different than the others, none are appealing enough for me to leave my tried and true Foursquare or one of the above.
What other location services have you tried besides Foursquare? What's your favorite? Do you think you'll ever use another service besides Foursquare?
About Lyn Mettler Lyn is the mother of two young boys, a social media nerd and the founder of Step Ahead Inc., a company which combines the best of traditional public relations with social media campaigns and Internet marketing to maximize visibility for clients both online and off. She is the social media featured blogger for TwitterMoms.com, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur magazine, and also blogs regularly on her company website. Follow her on Twitter at @webprgirl.