Location loyalty revving up with new scheme from Loopt
Foursquare and Booyah claim massive user figures
Loopt, the location-based social mapping service, has launched a virtual loyalty scheme to reward users for interacting with retailers and connecting with brands.
Loopt Star is a hyper-local mobile customer loyalty card/rewards game. Campaigns can be customized by qualifying locations, time of day, day of week, number of check-ins, and whether the user needs to bring friends. When users “check-in” to a location, they can gain coupons and other brand-specified rewards.
Universal Music will send five free songs for example, to Loopt Star users that check into any bar in the US with two friends.
Gap is sending customers a 25 percent discount coupon after they check-in twice at a Gap store.
“Hyper-local advertising should be about much more than simply clicking on a banner ad — it should be about connecting with brands and getting rewarded for loyalty. Brands want to turn their existing customers into better ones,” said Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of Loopt.
With the new Loopt Star, users play with friends and gain Achievements, coupons, and other brand-specified rewards for checking into specific locations. Each participating organization can offer a unique reward for fulfilling specific actions such as: check in a certain number of times, or with a specified number of Facebook friends. Loopt Star also lets users optionally share their location with friends.
For online retailers, Loopt Star offers them a virtual loyalty card, allowing connection directly with their customers when they’re out and about, driving foot traffic and encouraging repeat visits.
It offers retailers and businesses what it claims is a unique “cost per visit” business model.
In addition to brand-specific customized rewards, Loopt Star will also allow the person with the most check-ins at a specific place to become the “Boss” of that location. Leaderboards allow users to compete with their Facebook friends for the most check in points. Dozens of hidden Achievements will also be available to Loopt Star game players at launch to be won when certain check-in actions are performed.
Loopt Star adds a key social component by being the first mobile location App based purely on Facebook Connect.
Users can share their current location in real-time with all of their friends on Facebook, and alert friends via their Facebook News Feed about special offers they see on Loopt Star that are available to anyone.
Loopt Star is available free for iPhone and iPod Touch through the App Store or www.itunes.com/appstore/. For more information about Star, go to www.looptstar.com.
Loopt Star is in competition with services such as Foursquare and Booyah.
Foursquare is a social networking website, software for mobile devices, and also a game.
Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application. They are then awarded points and sometimes “badges.” The service was created by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai; Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball, which Google bought in 2005 and shut down in 2009.
As it reaches 1.3 million users in June 2010 Foursquare is apparently being pursued by Internet giant Yahoo! Inc., which has offered as much as US$125 million for the ground breaking company.
In May, Accel Partners led a $20 million investment in Booyah, maker of an iPhone game called “MyTown” that uses data culled from the iPhone’s GPS. The game invites players to check in to real-world locations, such as coffee shops, and then “own” them virtually, collecting rent from other real-world visitors.
Accel joined previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and DAG Ventures to fund theCalifornia-based startup, which added Jim Breyer, a partner with Accel and a board member of Facebook, to its own board of directors. Booyah has now raised $29.5 million since its inception.
Booyah co-founders, who include CEO Keith Lee, Chief Creative Officer Brian Morrisroe and CTO Sam Christiansen, each previously worked at gaming company Blizzard Entertainment, responsible for such popular titles as “Diablo” and “World of Warcraft.” In announcing the funding last week, Booyah said that the company will hire people and invest in new projects, details of which have not yet been disclosed.
The company’s signature game “MyTown” has been likened to a real-world Monopoly board game. Users can purchase upgrades from the company to enhance their enjoyment of the game, similar to how Zynga Game Network monetizes “FarmVille” and other games on Facebook.
The company reported it has 2 million users of “MyTown” and is growing at a rate of 100,000 users a week. Booyah’s founders have pegged the number of buyers at about 5 percent of its users.
During the last five years, startups have tried to integrate data from GPS-enabled phones into a number of different applications. There are location-based advertising startups, location-based dating startups, location-based social networking startups and location-based microblogging startups. Booyah is believed to be one of the first startups to try to utilize location data for gaming.