Remember when you were the last person on the dancefloor looking for love back in the 90’s? No, well I am afraid I do and lover that I never found was called LBS.
Ten years on, I am the record has changed and the belly flop of location is no more. In fact, I received a press release from a company called Gowalla.
I didn’t look too hard and I noticed it was an innovative gaming application that was also a reward scheme. So basically you collect, locate and find or drop or pick-up tit bits in different bars and restaurants. It sounds mad, but when I checked it out it was actually the ultimate in “I am waiting for a friend in a bar and they are late – entertainment booster”.
I sound crazy?
Well I don’t mean too. Gawalla is great. In fact, just thinking out loud about the mobile location services that are hot at the moment and before you know it there are several.
http://www.qiro.net / – German based social community based on location and finding#
http://zyb.com/lang/en/ - synchronises your friends and their social networks in one place
http://www.gypsii.com/ - mobile global community for where you are based on GPS location
http://www.loopt.com/ - who is similar around you or what to do and what to eat
http://brightkite.com/ - meet people around you and find new people with similar interests
http://foursquare.com/ - find friends but also earn points and badges for communication
http://gowalla.com/ - discover places and earn rewards
http://www.aka-aki.com - find love and friends and explore cities
But when I brain dumped several of mobile location businesses listed above I found some very common factors.
1. All had great funky websites
2. All were based around social networking and location
3. Hardly any offered mobile search or discovery
4. There was no use of other multi-media technology such as video or augmented reality
5. The business model was advertising
So, by the number of sites and start-ups I remain convinced that location is getting hot… But, by the lack of clear business models– I do feel that many companies will not survive in the consumer space.
This is only because advertising is the business model and its not quite there yet. Saying that the innovation around mobile loyalty and prizes on these applications can turn into a new revenue stream.
I think location can make you starry eyed – as its such as innovative area. But only focus on the money machine will breed success.
So what are some potential new business models for mobile locations sites?
You can ask me to change the record here –but woudn’t implementing codes into all location products the way to drive quick revenues?
Yes. Yes. I know that video is no longer new –but why not live stream immediately from your location? How cool would that be at shows and concerts? Forget the picture capture the “live” moment
3. What is location?
Everyone is touting location and you can see your friends and where they are. But do you want to see your friends? What about finding sales or experiences or doing a tour on your phone. This is similar to what Soundwalk does –but how about geo-locating a graveyard or something equally Gothic to appeal to the solstice?
OK, now, even I might be going too far. But why should location be about people only?
More in part 2.