However, the reality is still far from that. The problem is, other than competing with friends for points and trying to get Mayorships, I’m getting nothing from these sites.
I know the technology is there but the shop/brand adoption is not. Whilst I cannot be certain of what that is I would offer the following theories:
- Reach of these sites is not yet wide enough for big brands to adopt - As a result the shops/brand people use on a regular basis are not offering the deals the technology promises and can deliver
- Lack of small business adopting it means that from a brand/retailer perspective, the technology is still in the early adopter phase – the technology is still a long way off reaching the tipping point and that means that the interactions people can have with brands, the sites and each other is still very limited. Widespread adoption by small business is what will start to drive that forward and once it does then user base size will rapidly increase in size
- Go to market strategy was wrong - because this type of interaction and possibility was so new simply launching it as a game (as much fun and as useful as gamification is) limited it’s appeal to people beyond gamers and those who really needed to be involved (i.e. retailers).
Personally I think these sites will have a big future in commerce, but they need to do a major recruitment drive to get adoption with 2-3 country specific big, nationwide retailers that people use everyday (coffee houses, supermarkets, petrol companies) and lots of smaller businesses that will help provide case studies for even bigger recruitment drives.
A clear case of chicken and egg. Customers won’t come if there are no retailers, retailers won’t play if a user base isn’t there.
How do you feel about the adoption of geolocation by businesses and consumers? Are you Foursquare-d up? If so, befriend me.
[UPDATE] Just released was this infographic from Mashable