Yelp, Facebook Places, Groupon, Foursquare, Gowalla, Scavenger, Living Social.
These are just some of the location-based social networks, applications and companies that are making a large impact in people’s behavior and purchasing decisions. Overall, these applications and networks allow people to check-in to certain locations, write tips and reviews for businesses, restaurants, etc., obtain discounts through special deals or group purchases, and see where your friends are checking in and what they like and/or don’t like.
So far, these networks and applications provide some, but not all, of these capabilities, and are very popular. However, there isn’t one place where users can go to have all of this functionality. It’s not a question of if all of these features will converge – it’s a question of when, and who will be the one to do it first and best?
While Facebook has an enormous user base, it’s functionality doesn’t really allow you to get tips and reviews from people you aren’t ‘friends’ with about a nearby restaurant, etc. It is also currently more focused on telling friends where you’re going then on the deals and discounts that other applications have fund success with.
Yelp and Foursquare and others have had great success with tips and reviews, and is very useful for users on mobile devices that are trying to find a nearby place to grab a bite to eat. Meanwhile, Foursquare’s badge system has been growing steadily and can result in check-in addiction.
Then, Groupon and it’s long list of clones have popularized the daily deal, basically providing users with 50 percent off whatever deal is offered that day. It’s easy for people to make a purchasing decision when it arrives in their email every morning, and Groupon’s & Living Social’s mobile apps are a major selling point. However, their deals require a level of planning (timing, location, fine print).
So who is going to win? It’s tough to tell at this point. Which of these applications and networks do you enjoy using and find the most helpful?