This part Friday at our Social Currency CrunchUp I was joined on stage by Tristan Walker (director of business development at Foursquare), Kara Nortman (Senior Vice President of Publishing at CityGrid Media), and Shiva Rajaraman (a product manager at Twitter) to talk about check-ins, coupons, and commerce. You can watch the entire conversation in the video above, but I wanted to highlight a few key parts of it.
Overall, an element that kept popping up during the talk was the idea that the check-in is just the first (or base) component of location. All parties seemed to be in agreement that the field was going to expand far beyond that. Obviously, Foursquare is one of the key players there (and popularized the term itself), but even Walker agrees that they are going to have go beyond this first phase. He notes that the key to Foursquare is to “socialize loyalty” no matter how that is done.
Walker said that recently with the heat wave in New York City, someone created a fake venue called “Heatpocalypse.” Some 5,000 people checked-in to it in one day. And again, it’s not really an actual venue, it’s a state of mind, essentially. But all of those people were told that a deal to get yogurt was nearby — a perfect potential solution for the heat. This is the type of thing Foursquare never would have thought of as an idea, because it’s not really a check-in to a venue, but it speaks to how moving beyond that basic concept might work.
Rajaraman noted that the check-in was a great game mechanic, but said that a ton of other game mechanics will emerge. And that’s exactly what Twitter wants because they’re going to federate and mine all of that data to see what works best among their users. Notably, Rajaraman also indicated that Twitter was thinking about the best way to filter out types of content you may not care about — such as check-in tweets.
When I asked the group about Google and Facebook both getting involved in the location space, they were mainly positive in saying that it would be good for everyone. Well, except when Nortman said that “everyone should be afraid of Facebook.” She also hinted that Google can be a bit scary too if they start focusing more of showing content rather than just pointing to it. This very idea was on display later in the day when Google and Yelp took the stage.
Interestingly, Walker ended the conversation by noting that everyone in the location space seemed to be “looking for the Holy Grail that doesn’t exist.” By that he means a single way to do location-based coupons. This is all about much more than that, he reasons.