At TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday, yet another location-based startup launched to the masses, but unlike others that seem to replicate what’s already been done, this one has potential.
Newly launched Geotoko is a platform designed to allow businesses to run contests, sweepstakes and other unique campaigns using the check-in functionality of existing location-based services like Gowalla and Foursquare. In other words, it’s not reinventing the wheel, but instead adding another layer of value to the foundation LBS providers have already built.
Geotoko gives businesses a dashboard, where they can create a designated site for a promotional campaign. That site will then aggregate check-in and geolocation info from Foursquare, Twitter and Gowalla (with Brightkite, Facebook and others to follow) for the business’ location along with the details of a campaign or promotion- such as prizes, free gifts, etc. The business can Tweet out the link to the page to potential users, who can then check-in to the venue as a sweepstakes entry, for example.
As an example, a coffee shop could create a campaign for a new drink, awarding free coffee to those who check-in. Geotoko allows the shop to manage these check-ins and have a centralized place for buzz around the promotion, where other users can see who’s checking into the shop. Geotoko also offers businesses deeper analytics to see which locations are getting the most traffic and more.
Many business’ are taking notice to the location-based services craze, but they don’t necessarily know where to begin. LBS providers are beginning to launch business “dashboards” that would allow local businesses and brands to launch unique campaigns, but that lends itself to fragmentation. If a business sets up a campaign using Foursquare, for example, that alienates everyone using Gowalla, Yelp, Brightkite and the droves of others.
Centralizing and making available a comprehensive solution for businesses and brands to utilize the LBS ecosystem is a great idea, but only if its done effectively. Whether Geotoko has what it takes is up in the air, but it’s an excellent start.