Yesterday we hosted a “digital innovation day” at Engauge. We invited several tech companies to come and present the newest new, giving us and our guests a peek at where the digital world is headed. It was tremendous (for more, check out the tweets from #DIGday).
Two of the companies that presented were location-based-esque. Kinda in the space, kinda not. The first was WeReward, my personal check-in app of choice. The second was MyTown, which is a very cool game-based check-in app. Both very different from Foursquare and Gowalla. (oh, and PlacePunch presented as well but they aren’t a check-in app themselves, but rather allow marketers to do some really cool things around check-ins…).
I don’t know about you, but the rankings, badges and mayorships are getting old (ok, mayorships are still kinda cool, but I’m not hip enough to earn many of those). Ok, so I earned a “bender badge” because I was up late…now what? The first few times it was cool. Going to a new state, getting a badge, ok, that’s cool. The 5th time it just kinda gets ho-hum. And after using these apps for an extended period of time, at least for me, I got to a point where I kept asking myself, “why do I keep doing this”?
I really like the new evolution of check-in apps. WeReward literally pays you to check-in. Cash money yo, put right into your paypal account. MyTown is a competitive Monopoly-type game that you can play against your friends. It’s crazy addictive.
Both of these apps have taken the idea of telling your friends where you are and made it something that goes far beyond the “hey, look at me” novelty of Foursquare and Gowalla. And Facebook Places is really at location-based 1.0. It’ll evolve, for sure, but its even more boring than the others.
Ultimately I think check-in apps will become check-in features of other apps/services. I don’t really believe a stand alone app is required to check-in. And that’s kind of where WeReward and MyTown have taken it. And Facebook. And Yelp. In all of these, check-ins are a feature that contribute to the overall experience, but the act of checking in ISN’T the overall experience, the way it is in Foursquare and Gowalla.
That’s my two cents. Come debate me you Foursquarers and Gowalla-girls :)