SnapDragon Wants To Simplify Product Check-Ins And Entice Users With Comics

We started with location check-ins. Then we moved to media check-ins. Now we’re onto product check-ins. The space is starting to fill up quickly, but are they all too convoluted? If SnapDragon takes off, the answer in hindsight may end up being “yes”.

The new startup launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt isn’t trying to pull you into a specific store (like Shopkick). It isn’t trying to mount an overall attack on in-store shopping (like Barcode Hero). And it isn’t trying to turn barcodes into message boards (like StickyBits). Instead, all SnapDragon is trying to do is get you to scan your barcodes to check-in to products you like. Doing this is more a game than anything else — you can share these products, climb a product’s leaderboard, etc. And as a bonus, it allows you to unlock comic book material featuring the company’s SnapDragon character.

Yes, that’s right, comic books.

The SnapDragon team has gotten some Bay Area comedians to write their little collectable virtual good comic books. You’ll earn different books based on your product check-ins. For example, if you check-in to some tanning oil, you might earn the “Jersey Shore” comic, riffing on MTV’s hit show.

The idea is clearly to make the idea of product check-ins fun without putting up too big of a barrier to entry (which many of the other product check-in services have). That said, the end result is the same in SnapDragon — get brands to leverage the platform as a new form of advertising and marketing.

Here are the questions from judges Josh Felser, Joe Kraus, Todor Tashev, Robert Scoble, and Don Dodge (paraphrased):

Q: How do you make money?

A: We work with consumer product companies to deliver targeted coupons.

Q: Have you talked to the brands yet?

A: Yes a bit. One example may be Vitamin Water — which has a deal with The Situation from Jersey Shore.

Q: I think too many teams are focused on the product problem — but isn’t this a distribution problem?

A: (Shakes head, yes).

Q: Too many companies talk about the business — you need to figure out how to make this interesting to the user. Right?

A: (Shakes head, yes).