Live Blog: Right Time, Right Place – Location Services & Marketing

I’m at TWTRCON today, where the “Right Time, Right Place” panel will look at location services and marketing. We’ve got both Foursquare and Gowalla taking part.

Who’s talking in all:

I’ll be curious to hear Starbucks explain how they apparently have purchased ads to show up next to virtually every place I seem to check into these days.

And we’re off. First question to Brad about his deal. Brad says interest started about 1 1/2 years ago.

If mayer of Starbucks, you get $1 off a frappacino. And if I’ve spelled it wrong, too bad. I don’t drink coffee. Starbucks, start carrying Diet Coke.

Dennis, what’s this mean for you? Validation he says. Trying to get mom and pops, so it’s great now to have really established retail brands behind this.

Josh asked what he’s doing. Says interesting to work with media brands like WSJ, reviewing restaurants, a writer encouraging people to go to local tattoo parlor. See how that content is getting repurposed. Today deal with USA Today, travel guides for most trafficked airports, lots of that content being repackaged and put out on Gowalla, so you see it when you check in.

Says most people don’t even know this content exists. So this helps spread the news about it. “I think it is another distribution panel that contextualizes distribution.” Or something close to that.

Dennis, similar to what Josh said, it’s taking that content from the web that might last a day or two and put it in a format that takes advantage of it.

Matt thinks it will grow in ways not expected. People do want to use these tools. They’re just trying to find new ways to do it.

Josh, talks about being in small town on Maui, a good two dozen locations people have added to Gowalla there. Found a coffee shop added. You do start to see it take root in off the beat locations.

Role of twitter? Starbucks says its easy to share.

Dennis of Foursquare, local business are generating attention didn’t get before, when people check in and that gets sent out on Twitter. What is this place, this restaruant you’ve been to two or three times.

[of course, i hate this. please, i beg, don't tweet your checkins :) ]

Dennis goes on that all these things in the social graph support each other, rather than compete.

Brad on Starbucks on competition. “We don’t want to crown the king.” We went with Foursquare because that’s what he was seeing and hearing that his friends were using more.

Dennis, on what marketers should do. You can sign up, have venue specials. For media companies it’s different, a lot of different brands and media companies have things tied to geography, tied to lat/long.

Gowalla says does a lot of events that you can set up [have to check that out, hope it's self-service, because sure is tough with Foursquare]. Light bulb moment for him seeing a bunch of events spreading out in Austin. Marketing implications are fascinating.

Adam says very exciting to see you checking into things other than hotels.

Matt asked about StickyBits. Tech where scan a barcode and you can attach something to it. So say you can see the “bits” attached to a barcode for a can of Diet Coke. You can have unique stickers, unique barcodes that you could put on a bar. Then anyone can see where that is. Fixed location attached to that sticker. But if you scan a can of Diet Coke, you can see where it has been scanned before, or really who is scanning that they have a can of Diet Coke somewhere.

Adam, why do people do this? Matt, people see stickers and think what is that, what happens if I do this, it’s a recursive thing. Whether that has a long term impact, I couldn’t tell you. If I can scan a six pack of beer from Colorado, then others can see what I say about that product.

Measure ROI? Starbucks, still getting there, not a huge overhead. Can measure the badges. But worries that if someone walks in, the barrista won’t understand it. So can they find a way to tie it to a physical card.

Dennis, as soon as launch a promotion, can see numbers jump up. It encourages people to check in to Starbucks [except coffee haters like me, it just makes me hate them more since there's nothing there for me. but hey, I'm weird, right?].

Adam, what about there’s only one mayor gets perk? Dennis, heard that from businesses, now looking at way to trigger for like top ten users. Expect to see tie-ins to regular specials, like with Daily Delight (?) – swipe your card and I guess check-in at the same time.

Adam, how do you address cheating issue? [You know, like when someone steals the title of Mayor Of Stonehenge, heh.]

Brad, it’s something you worry about but not a lot, not a $1 off. If someone really wants that frappacino that much and they’re cheating for it and share with their friends, there’s no big deal.

Dennis, the ideas we’re pushing are ahead of the technology. Might not know if you’re in the store or nearby. Have to be loose with the rules. It might be a little of the Wild West right now … it gets better over time. And they’re getting coffee.

Gowalla has passport system, do want to try and have people being fair but also limited by the technology.

Adam asks Gowalla about tying into real world items. Gowalla says yeah, have way to do this, can check into place and get like a real digital card. “That’s very very experimental.”

Dennis of Foursquare, biggest diff with them and Gowalla, they have earning badges while Gowalla is abot finding objects [me, um, I don't think we're thinking that much of a difference]. Done experiments where show badge and get free things [me, when I show my mayorships, my local places have no idea what I'm talking about :) ]

Adam to Starbucks, want to build your own system like Pepsi does [MINI has one, too, it's lame and sucks]. Starbucks — nope, happy with what doing.

Missed question, but Gowalla now saying checkins even easier than Twittering, which already was easy down to 140 characters. Not sure how things will evolve but probably more things you can check in to and more easily.

Starbucks, “Twitter is the real time web; checkins are the right time web,” the information I want where I want.

Dennis, you don’t even have to checkin, you can make use of the info others have put out there.

Josh of Gowalla, surprised how many pics get uploaded of baseball. He can pull up his iPad in the evening, scroll around and see photos being taken by fans at games that evening. He’s not a big baseball fan, he adds, but still finds this interesting.

Audience questions. Steve Rubel asks about privacy. Will we get options to share with only some but not all.

Dennis, you don’t want to broadcast to all people but only some, was in his first service, Dodgeball. Was confusing, few used it. An edge case.

Josh, in such cases, might make sense not to check in at all.

Question on scale.

Dennis, seeing more users who don’t use Facebook or Twitter but who do find Foursquare. Subject people excited about, location services, so Foursquare getting more mentions along Facebook and Twitter.

Question, how long until a self-service model.

Josh of Gowalla, working on it. Getting lessons from the brands. Working more to a model where they have the right knobs. That said, our core goal right now is to build better tools for users [um, build better tools for businesses, and that'll help the users].

Dennis, we’re getting closer each day. Hard problem to solve who owns a business. We’re getting close, but it’s a real pain in the ass.

NASA, asking how do we get badges for events?

Dennis, we get 100 requests per day for badges. We can’t do them all. Self service might help. That’s one of the things we’re working on. But we’re so overwhelmed and swamped, and we’ve got to dig ourselves out of the whole.

And that’s the sesssion.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Foursquare | Search Engines: Location / Checkin Services | Top News

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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