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About eight years ago I applied for a job at one of the largest insurance companies. After a few phone interviews and some testing, I made it to the in-person interview. I showed up in my suit and tie, the portfolio had copes of my resume printed on nice bond, and I met with several executives. After the team interview was over, I met with the HR person. She said that the team liked what I had to say and my vision and she said that the only things left were the drug test and the “Google test”. She then rotated her chair towards her computer, loaded Google into her browser and typed in my name. For the next 10 minutes she browsed links that had my name associated with them and she explained that they like to look into the background of the people they hire.
Lately we’ve read reports about people losing their job or not receiving a job offer because of what they write about on their blog or post on one of the social networks. But what about the new location tools like Foursquare and Gowalla? Could using one of these services be the quickest ticket to a pink slip or a non-offer? While I don’t think that either service will hit the mainstream, no matter how much a certain tech blog pumps Foursquare, no other service shows off everywhere you go like the location-based services do. In fact, on Foursquare and Gowalla you are rewarded for showing off where you go in the form of silly badges, pins and stamps.
The Apple iPhone developer’s blog has an interesting entry from yesterday that discusses location-based advertising in iPhone apps. The usage of GPS functionality to deliver local information must provide “beneficial information” to the user.
The entry notes (my emphasis), “If you build your application with features based on a user’s location, make sure these features provide beneficial information. If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store.”
MacNN has a good look into what this decision means for developers and for Apple. “Many analysts believe Apple is preparing to launch a mobile advertising network that will serve ads through free apps on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The company recently acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising specialist, after reportedly failing to sign a deal to purchase AdMob. The latter company was later picked up by Google,” MacNN notes.
We initially covered NYC-based coupon service 8coupons earlier this year when they launched their local coupon offering. Their “Money Map” shows deals on a Google Map so you can find deals in whatever location you would like. You can also see the top 8 deals in a city and national deals as well. In NYC the top deals come from Applebees, Starbucks, SuperMac, etc. 8coupons reports about 800,000 unique visitors for November.
Today the company has announced that the 8coupons service is available nationwide. The money map will now automatically detect your location and show you deals closest to you. Users can contribute deals they find (similar to Postabon which we covered last week) and 8coupons notes they will also run mobile-exclusive deals as well.
In terms of monetization, 8coupons notes, “8coupons.com has partnered with Valpak, Money Mailer, and RedPlum’s SuperCoups as well as with several local bloggers and content partners to add over 50,000 local deals across the country.” It looks like a lot of the coupons are online versions of the local coupons we receive in bundles in the mail.
I’ve been a big fan of QR codes from the beginning. Years ago my goal was to get the barcodes added to the Sunday coupon advertisements so that a customer could clip the coupon but could also get more information about the products using a barcode scanner.
About two years ago, Google discussed QR codes at the Advertising Club meetup in NYC. Shortly thereafter Google announced the Google Print Ads program which included QR codes. Earlier this year Google discontinued the Print Ads product.
If you are new to QR codes, check out our look at how the Japanese use the barcodes today. And also have a look at why I believe QR codes will be big business in the U.S. I wrote this article almost two years ago — I guess finally Google is reading this blog because today they have announced the launch of “Favorite Places” within their local product offering.
Google is sending out 100,000 stickers to the most often searched local businesses across the U.S. These stickers will include a QR code that can be scanned with a mobile phone. After scanning the QR code, information about the local establishment including hours of operation, menus, reviews, payment methods, etc. will be sent directly to the phone.
Users will be able to “star” their favorite places after scanning the codes and will also be allowed to write reviews.
With more of the new mobile devices having the QR code software pre-installed, I am sure this program will take off for Google. I wonder what will happen to Microsoft Tag and if Yelp (or the new local location services) will make a play in this area.
And just wait until all of us humans walk around with QR tatoos so that an interested mate can scan our code on our arm and learn all about us :)
For the last six months, I seem to always head to the barbershop on days when it is raining. Normally there is a wait at the barbershop (15 minutes or so) but it always seems like the days when it rains there is no wait. I asked the barber if the weather and the wait was related and he said yes. He went on to say that “bad weather” days were very slow for the shop and sometimes he has to send one of the barbers home. Luckily my haircut has no issues with rain.
A new Washington, D.C. startup is trying to help fill those barber chairs on the “bad weather” days. Bluesky Local’s tagline explains what the service aims to offer, “we improve slow day sales”. As you can see in the screenshot below, each business can setup offers based on a variety of weather conditions, time of day, month, etc. Using my barber as an example, he could setup campaigns that offer a $2 discount or a free shave on rainy or snowy days.
In an interview with Emily Mayock of Nightclub&Bar, CEO and Co-Founder Matt Ackerson noted where he came up with the idea for Bluesky Local.” Ackerson says. “…I noticed this because whenever business was slow the waiters and I would sit around, play cards and complain and joke about how little in tips we would make for that night.” Ackerson tells me that their current customers are all based in the NYC area.
The concept seems very interesting as it could fill open capacity for a merchant or casual dining location. What would it be worth to the bottom line if BlueSky Local could fill several extra tables each day?
The service ranges in price from $99 – $299/month depending on the size of the list. Having run thousands of coupon campaigns, I think the pricing seems a bit on the high side. I’m also not sold that size of list is the right metric to price the service from. The service also requires that you have a list — I’d look at a GPS mobile option as well.
Could Bluesky Local help my barber fill his chairs on the bad weather days?
eBay has announced the launch of eBay Motors Local Classifieds for individual sellers today. The idea of this program is to bring together local buyers and sellers within a 100 mile zone of their local market.
Sellers can list up to six vehicles for a seven day period with no insertion or successful listing fees through July 15.
Considering the launch is for individual sellers, wouldn’t most transactions be local anyway? eBay is pushing the idea that you can go kick the tires and really investigate the car in-person via only online.
Just a month after NBC announced that they will integrate Outside.in local content, today NBC is announcing a partnership with AOL to distribute the sports blog FanHouse on NBC local sites. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The participating NBC local cities include: New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles.
So now you can see what sports star is injecting up the goodies on your favorite local NBC site. Fanhouse serves up a variety of "professionally written" blogs for most major sports teams in NFL, NBA, MLB, as well as NCAA.