For a while now, we at Windy City Strategies have been chiming in with our take on the pros and cons of the different GPS check-in services. Because when Facebook Places came out a few months ago, we worried if Foursquare or Gowalla were going to be able to compete with Facebook’s 500-million people pre-existing customers. But now, the question is, are GPS check-ins going to be around for much longer anyway? Pew Research recently reported that location-based services have actually declined in the last 6 months, from 5% of the online population in May to 4% last month.
Why? Because there haven’t been really good reasons to use them. I mean, there’s a certain fun factor in unlocking arbitrary badges in FourSquare. But the only real benefit is telling your friends where you are. And it’s not often enough where you want to brag where you are to the world. is the new player in the field, looking to bring an answer to this situation. You check in at a restaurant, and get 10% off your bill. You check in to your favorite electronics store and get a certain number of points. You get enough points, you get few products.
This is the solution. This is the incentive people need to check-in and offer the retailer free advertising by shouting their location to their friends. has found it. Facebook Deals is following it. And I think there’s a reason. Because it’s the only future I can imagine for GPS check-in.