Discovery-oriented Players in the Location-based Service Space

By Aaron Strout, Mike Schneider, B. J. Emerson

If you are venturing into location-based marketing, it is important to know a bit about potential providers and their differentiators. A focus on providing recommendations and tips is one such differentiator.

Discovery-oriented location-based services (LBS) are designed primarily with the idea of helping people find cool things in their area. These are built around user- and business-generated tips, and some of them are even smart enough to make recommendations based on the user’s behavior and the behaviors of people that users trust.

Making recommendations — helping others discover businesses, places, products, and services that they might enjoy — isn’t limited to the application users. You can add tips in places to help customers unlock the secrets of your business. Some platforms offer users the ability to declare that they saw your tip and tried your recommendation. The associated metrics become another way to demonstrate the effectiveness of the campaign.

  • Bizzy: Looking for suggestions for a local barber, tanning salon, or steakhouse? Bizzy provides recommendations based on a series of questions that users answer when signing up, combined with information about venues they’ve “checked out of.”

    To date, Bizzy is one of the few services that provide an ability to “check out” as opposed to “checking in.” The idea of checking out is that you declare that you left as opposed to letting people know that you arrived. It also collects information about how you felt about the experience.

    A user checks out on Bizzy and lets the application know how she felt about the experience.
    A user checks out on Bizzy and lets the application know how she felt about the experience.
  • Loopt: Even though Loopt was one of the earlier players in the location-based space, they’ve struggled to stay relevant. Claiming over 3 million users, Loopt announced in late 2010 that they were scrapping their own geodatabase in favor of Facebook Places’ database.

  • Loqly: Loqly answers users’ questions using recommendations from people who are checked in to nearby restaurants and businesses.

You can choose more than one. Because most of these are free, you’re risking only your time if one doesn’t work for you.