Forget about checking-in to venues. Apparently, the new thing to do is to check-in to whatever you’re doing — like watching television shows, or reading a book. It’s something that Hot Potato offers, and they’re in the process of being acquired by Facebook. It’s what GetGlue offers as well, and they’re already seeing over 4.5 million ratings and check-ins a month now. And today, the service is announcing a new exclusive partnership with HBO.
Starting on August 1, when you use GetGlue to check-in watching one of HBO’s hit shows, you’ll earn exclusive stickers designed by HBO. If you’re aware of Foursquare badges or Gowalla pins, it’s the same idea, except based around content. The three shows HBO has selected for this promotion are True Blood, Hung, and Entourage — three of their hottest shows.
To earn these stickers, all you have to do is use the GetGlue iPhone app or one of their web browser extensions and check-in to say you’re watching one of the mentioned shows. There are also several other stickers for each show that you can earn by doing other things such as commenting on shows or checking-in multiple times to a show. GetGlue won’t reveal the secrets to earn them all (it is a game, after all), but they make it seem as if loyal fans (meaning loyal GetGlue users in this case too) will be able to get all the stickers.
GetGlue also sets itself apart by sending users actual stickers when they ask for them. Thousands of these stickers have been sent out to users already, I’m told. It’s a gimmick, but an interesting one that seems great for promotional purposes.
These types of deals are becoming an increasingly important means for these services to rope in users. Rival Miso has also been doing similar deals (here’s one for the movie Hot Tub Time Machine). Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Whrrl, and all the other location check-in services have also been signing similar deals left and right in an attempt to lure in users to their respective games. And it’s more than that, as we’ve seen with Foursquare, if a brand is really sold on the idea, they’ll even start promoting you — like VH1 and Bravo.
That said, these deals usually don’t mean a lot (if any) money for these startups yet. These badges and stickers aren’t easily monetizable, GetGlue CEO Alex Iskold tells us. That said, they establish a relationship with the brand, and eventually the plan is to offer other things to them in exchange for money — such as detailed analytics about who is checking-in to their products.
It was just last month that GetGlue said it was doing 1.5 million ratings and check-ins every month — again, now that’s surged to 4.5 million. The plan for the service’s over 500,000 users is to offer up content recommendations based on these check-ins and ratings. So the more, the better, obviously.
You can find GetGlue’s iPhone app here. Iskold says iPad and Android apps should be out in a matter of weeks as well.