Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Potential of Location Based Apps (I Want to be Mayor of UP Law)
In a nutshell, Foursquare is a location-based social networking app for mobile devices. This means that you can “check-in” with your cell phone in any location, be it a restaurant, a shop, or your own house. With every check in, you earn points or boy scout-type badges.
You’ll also be connected to friends so they’ll be able to know where you’ve been. It’s partly a form of bragging, and partly the best invention yet (i.e. for stalking your ex).
Privacy issues aside, Foursquare or the next big location-based app provides for a win-win situation for the buyer and the merchant.
On the business side, it gives any store that direct connection with their customers who provide comments or tips during check-in. On the consumer level, these comments, which can range from exalting to scathing, will serve as an enticement or a warning.
For example, M. and I go to Ukkokei Ramen Ron and find out that its Mayor (i.e. a venue’s best customer or the person without a life and too much time on her hands) said that the Miso based Chayu Ramen is heaven-sent. The gullible idiots that we are heed the Mayor’s advice, and later proclaim that we are now too good for Lucky Me Instant Noodles.
We also read how several diners found the servers nasty, and fortunately for us, service was good. Maybe the owner finally read those comments or everyone was having a good day.
The good thing about this is it can serve as a shaming mechanism for the merchant, in case he gives a bad product or service. But if it there’s nothing wrong with the product, the location based app gives an extra incentive for repeat visits since the app itself provides for bigger points and bigger, fancier badges for subsequent check-ins. Everyone’s goal, of course, is to be Mayor. And if the merchants are smart enough, they should always give the Mayor free drinks.
The potential of location-based social networking for commerce also has applications to tourism, to heritage sights, to entertainment, in other words endless.
Now if only this was available 4 years ago before I entered UP Law when some good soul would have warned me with the proverbial abandon all hope all ye who enter here. In the mean time, I’m happy with trying to steal away Malcolm Hall’s mayorship from a classmate.