All posts tagged ‘lbs’

by CalebAugust 13, 2010

GroupTabs' Josh Malin on Mobile Coupons and Group Buying

Josh Malin is Chief Marketing Officer at GroupTabs. He has a long background in mobile - 10 of his 27 years. In addition to his role at GroupTabs, he is currently Marketing Director at Ez Texting. Prior to that, he participated in what he calls the ringtone bubble. In 2000 he co-founded Mobilesmarts, one of the first distributors of ringtones in the United States.

What is GroupTabs and how does it work?

GroupTabs allows you to check-in for group deals using any phone that has GPS capabilities. Until the deal 'tips,' [meaning enough people sign up] the participating bar or restaurant offers a side-deal, which can be a regular special. We want to reward our members for showing up, even if the deal doesn't tip. That said, our thresholds are low. We're not in the business of selling 2,000 spa coupons; 10, 20, 30 check-ins are the typical check-in thresholds we've agreed to with our merchants. If the deal doesn't tip, the merchant doesn't pay us.

How do you differentiate yourself from other players in the group buying space?

We have a very different model than Groupon, LivingSocial and all of the other group buying clones. Our users don't buy what is essentially a half-priced gift certificate. Our members show up, the deal tips, and then they get the discount offered by the merchant.

Could you give us a picture of what this service would look like in an average user's life?

Our average user checks her email in the morning. She sees a deal for half-priced cocktails at a great low-key bar. She RSVPs. RSVPs are a way for us to gauge interest right now, but in a few weeks we'll allow our members to share their RSVPs with other GroupTabs members if they choose (this will be strictly opt in - we're very serious about privacy). Our member shows up at the bar with a couple of her friends. They enjoy the regular special going on. More GroupTabs members arrive and check-in. The deal tips. Our GroupTabs member flashes the redeem screen of our mobile app to the bartender and she gets her half-priced cocktails.

Why is there this pull towards group buying? What is it that makes services like Groupon and Gilt City so successful?

The difference between the current generation of group buying sites and Mercata, which flamed out during the dot-com bubble, is pretty clear - brick and mortar merchants have room to compress their margins, and more importantly create relationships that will result in future transactions. Mercata tried to drive down prices to compete with national retailers. The margins were already as low as they were going to go...and once you bought that appliance there was no reason to come back.

That said, it's more than just applying group buying to a different type of transaction. The 'Great Recession' has played an undeniable role in the success of group buying sites and flash sale sites. We've stabilized things, but it doesn't seem like we're bouncing back in a real way anytime soon. Consumers' attitudes have shifted, in a fundamental way. Perhaps we'll see things differently in a few years (or a few dozen years), but right now it does seem like Fall 08 was one of those moments when things stopped, turned, and went down a new path.

Finally, is there anything we can look forward to from GroupTabs?

We're excited about rolling out basic social networking features - allowing you to share your RSVPs and check-ins with other members. If (when?) Facebook rolls out their geo API, we'll definitely hook up to it. Our goal isn't to build a new check-in service. We're platform agnostic. If you have a Foursquare account, great, we'll check you in. If you don't have an account on a LBS, that's fine too. Our plan was to launch with Foursquare, Brightkite, and Twitter integration. Gowalla finally opening their API to check-ins changed our priorities, [to also support their platform].

by AllisonAugust 6, 2010

DailyCandy Goes Beyond the Inbox with Location-Based App

image via

Womens' lifestyle newsletter DailyCandy took their sweet time getting into mobile, but what they've ultimately done is worth the wait.

Their new Android app called DailyCandy Stylish Alerts is much more than just mobile-formatted content. Rather, it will alert the user to DailyCandy deals when they are near a store offering one.
This geo-aware approach is the right move at the right time. As Jenna Wortham from the New York Times points out:

Applications that run in the background and alert users with a coupon or special offer as they walk by a store have been something of a holy grail for the mobile phone.

But until recent advances in smartphone software, it has largely been impossible to do efficiently, said Josh Rochlin, the chief executive of Xtify, the New York-based geo-notification company powering the DailyCandy application.

“Instead of physically taking the device out of my pocket and checking into a location, this is taking advantage of passively knowing a user’s location and passing down relevant information,” said Mr. Rochlin.

While this sort of push technology can potentially create distracting real-world spam, Daily Candy already has an engaged, trusting audience, which goes a long way. Also, the app is reaching people who have raised their hands and said "Yes! Show me deals!"

While it's odd that an app launch on Android first, the reason is likely that the iPhone did not until recently allow developers to build apps that run in the background, which this one does. iPhone is coming soon, though, they say. It would also be smart for them to try out geofencing technology, which works through SMS -- no app required.

by CalebJuly 20, 2010

Location-Based Services: Competition Pushes the Check-In Forward

As the location space heats up, various contenders are looking to for ways to differentiate themselves. This week, Brightkite, Loopt, and SCVNGR all announced new features and thinking around the way people check-in.

Brightkite's badge system now includes levels. This is similar to how Miso rewards users as either a Newbie, Fan, or Enthusiast. According to Techcrunch:

If you use their mobile website or one of their many mobile apps to post 10 photos, you’ll earn a ‘Slick pic’ badge at level 1. You can monitor your progress in a status bar on the badge, which will be visible on the web or your iPhone. Once you get to level 1, Brightkite will tell you what to do to get to level 2, and so on.

SCVNGR has introduced bump enabled social check-ins. From Mashable:

The startup has launched the “social checkin,” a new feature in the SCVNGR Android and iPhone applications that encourages friends to bump phones (or make the fist bump gesture simultaneously) to check in together at the same time and place.

It’s like a modern day version of clinking glasses or giving high fives to friends at a bar, but with a very obvious social media twist that has the potential to be both data rich and rewarding for the users who participate.

Loopt has officially rolled out automatic check-ins, called "proximity alerts," something many in this space have been expecting for a while now. According to MobileMarketingWatch:

It’s now possible to know where you’re friends are at, regardless of whether they checked-in or not. The addition takes advantage of the background location feature of the iPhone and Android platforms, and comes with explicit sharing options to manage what’s shared and how often. Only users that mutually share data with one another can receive alerts. Alerts and background location are all opt-in, so a simple settings change can turn the feature on or off. You can also choose to exclude some of your friends from your background location sharing options.

Each of these services is developing a culture, something that cannot be easily replicated. Through their decisions, they continue to define themselves both through brand partnerships and added features, attempting to capture a certain corner of the market. The space is healthy with competition, and we expect to see a lot more innovation to come.

by SarahJuly 7, 2010

Turf Wars: Gowalla and the New Jersey Nets Invade New York

Overlooking Madison Square Garden is a fresh new mural that is causing quite a stir. The advertisement features the New Jersey Nets, backed by owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z. A mobile call to action using Gowalla is also featured.

According to Techcrunch:

As it indicates, there’s actually a Nets’ Blueprint for Greatness venue on Gowalla (created at the spot of the billboard) that users can check-in to in order to receive a special collectable item. And because Gowalla, unlike Foursquare, requires you to position yourself with GPS when you check-in, it’s basically impossible to cheat in order to get the item — you have to actually go there.

This is an interesting execution for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is that both Gowalla and the Nets are in direct opposition with the NYC majority. Foursquare and the Knicks have a passionate following, some are upset by this intrusion and are demanding the mural be taken down.

That being said, this is the work of VaynerMedia. We've covered how the company is helping both underdogs achieve social media ROI. This is a gutsy (and buzz building) move, but an optimistic effort to push the startup to New York's mainstream. It's also not the first time we've been able to check-in to an outdoor ad.

by CalebMay 21, 2010

Tweetworthy: QR Sand Castle, Curated Computing, Google's Froyo, and More

1. The king and queen of location-based services

2. QR Code Sand Castle

3. Location Detection Technologies

4. iPhone app helps avoid killing yourself while texting

5. Photo gallery: Japan’s SoftBank shows 13 new, Twitter-powered cell phones

6. 5 Up & Coming Mobile Technologies

7. Sensaris enables action driven citizens to improve share environmental data

8. Trend Watch: Curated Computing

9. Total mobile LBS revenues to reach $12.7B by 2014

10. Google Serves Up Froyo, the Latest Android OS

Tweetworthy is a weekly roundup of the most shared tweets from @MobileBehavior. You can follow us on Twitter here.

by SarahMay 14, 2010

Starbucks Expands Mobile Strategy With Brightkite Partnership

To reach the mobile consumer, Starbucks is teaming up with location-based veteran Brightkite. Together, they will present users with branded badges and virtual goods, redeemable for deals on drinks.

One aspect is that if you check-in (or post something like a note or image) at a local Starbucks during “Frappuccino happy hour” (that is, 3 PM to 5 PM until May 16th), you’ll get half-priced Frappuccinos. You’ll also unlock other features and rewards, including Frappuccino badges that you can pin to your profile.

The ubiquity of Starbucks stores makes the brand an ideal partner for any location-based or mobile service. The company also made a deal with Foursquare to reward loyal customers with a custom badge. Other mobile touch points include iPhone applications myStarbucks and Starbucks Card Mobile. With these, Starbucks is testing mobile payments for possible use across its 11,000 U.S. stores.

[via techcrunch]

by CalebMay 13, 2010

GPS Film Provides Location Based Mobile Cinema

GPS Film is a mobile application that lets users experience a place through location-based video. Through mobile technology, it redefines "immersive content" and digital environments.

As the viewer travels by walking, bus, or taxi, the movie is assembled as he passes through different areas. By exploring a park, a neighbourhood, or even a city or country, GPS Film continually 'reads' the location of the viewer and plays scenes that are tied to those places.

This is a platform for "location based mobile cinema." The first film that supports it is Nine Lives, a Singaporean chase comedy that lets users explore nine neighborhoods, each of which tell a different part of the story.

Guided tours have been an obvious starting point for those wanting to get their feet wet in the mobile space. In 2008, we pointed to location curation as something to watch. Louis Vuitton partnered with Soundwalk for a unique portrayal of Shanghai. Sound Trip is an iPhone and iPod app that acts as an audio guide to Tokyo. Brands have provided utility through curated cities and apps like Nike True City and Foursquare. While analog park maps and museum audio tours have been around for a while, the popularity of GPS enabled mobile phones has opened up new opportunities for exploring physical space.

Watch GPS Film demonstrated here.

[via popwuping]

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