This week, there were three big announcements in the geo-location space. Let’s summarize:
- Foursquare partners with PepsiCo and Safeway
- Google launches Hotpot recommendation engine
- Gowalla partners with Disney
Taken together, we can see that some major players are making big moves in the geo-location space. That goes a long way towards legitimizing the platform and entire concept of geo-location marketing, despite what some are saying.
Disney is partnering with Gowalla to offer users special pins and badges that allow people to keep memories; Disney’s 2011 marketing theme revolves around the “experiences” that people have at Disney parks, and they feel Gowalla can be a tool that help commemorate those experiences. This goes far beyond the simple incentivization that many people feel are the only thing geo-location services are good for.
Google took a big swipe at Yelp this week by quietly releasing Hotpot: a location-based recommendation engine tied in with Google Maps (an app that is already ubiquitous and thus requires no investment to get involved in). Google is hoping that people will already be in their Maps application and thus be compelled to quickly rate and review businesses as well as receive recommendations from other users.
Foursquare finally made an announcement that answers a lot of questions, namely “What exactly is Foursquare planning to do to monetize?” By tying their now firmly-established installed user base into Safeway member rewards cards, Safeway has an instant pipeline into their customer’s physical location and shopping habits. In exchange, they get to offer their loyalty customers extra incentives for giving them that kind of marketing data (which is pure gold.)
These are just some of the things that are going on in geo-location marketing. I personally expect more big announcements from major retailers and other companies in the coming months; this space is growing fast and we are all definitely keeping our eyes on it.