Though both Foursquare and Gowalla center around the same general concept, they differ in many ways. One way is how the companies are going about offering rewards to its users.
While Foursquare relies on the gaming aspect of checking-in to venues, and thereby rewarding those who become “mayors” by checking in the most, Gowalla is taking a different path and offering the same rewards to anyone who checks in to specific venues. While Foursquare’s foray into rewards sometimes singles out a select group of people (mayors), Gowalla aims to reward the masses.
Gowalla launched one such rewards offer today with Eye-Fi, a company that produces memory cards that give devices WiFi capability. When Gowalla users check in at any U.S.-based Best Buy or Apple Store, they’ll automatically have a chance to win a free 4 GB Eye-Fi card. A message will pop up on their screen about the card post check-in, and a simple click on the “Did I win?” button below that message will reveal if you’re a winner of the $75 card the spot. There will be 500 winners for this particular promotion.
In addition, those who don’t win the free card still gain access to a coupon code for one year’s worth of free hotspot access if you do choose to purchase an Eye-Fi card, all for simply checking in. This model adds obvious value to Gowalla users, but also adds much more marketing and engagment potential for Eye-Fi as opposed to offering singled-out rewards.
“This represents a remarkable opportunity for a brand to promote a product directly to people who are visiting a location where that product is sold,” said Gowalla founder Josh Williams. “It’s accessible to anyone who checks in on Gowalla, regardless of how many times they’ve checked in or whether or not they’ve been to that location previously.” Williams estimates that Eye-Fi is giving away some $35,000 worth of value from this deal alone.
In general, I see this model working out better than others, simply because it has more long-term viability than others. It should be interesting to see how this campaign works out in the end, and what response rate they achieve. My guess is that it’ll be a success and we’ll see Foursquare getting in on the action as well. Either way, the rewards concept from all location players should start to get very interesting soon, and we’ll start to see which experimental concepts end up working out the best in the end.