May 19 2010
Location based web apps have become the new web gold mine. Companies like Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt are trying to capitalize on this new technology. Currently, Foursquare is dominating the scene. For the unfamilar of Foursquare, here is quick description:
Foursquare is primarily for letting your friends know where you are and figuring out where they are. Secondarily, it's for collecting points, prize "badges," and eventually, coupons, for going about your everyday business.
The concept is catching on with everyone from individual to businesses and organizations. Businesses from the Wall Street Journal to most recently, NBC have incorporated of Foursquare and location base 'gaming' for their marketing efforts. Most recently, a relative newcomer SCVNGR has taken this concept further.
SCVNGR is a platform that lets individuals and institutions all across the world take their creativity, their ideas, their imagination and build it into sophisticated real-world mobile games, tours, alternate reality games and other interactive experiences that can be enjoyed from any mobile device on any carrier. And to do all of this quickly, easily and without needing any technical backing.
SCVNGR is one of the few social media company that is actually making a profit. One of the reason for this was their focus on enterprise clients such as city municipalities, and universities. Over 550+ institutions in 44 states and 20 countries have already built challenges and scavenger hunts on SCVNGR. Can Foursquare or Gowalla say that? Institutions such as Yale, Duke, Purdue to even the City of Boston has used the SCVNGR platform. Now with a recent funding of $4 million from Google Ventures, SCVNGR is just moved to the consumer market allowing individuals to create their own scavenger hunts with their software.
I can see organizations like 88Nine RadioMilwaukee really tap into SCVNGR to create a connection with our listener. For example, we could create challenges that tie in with our current initiative The Neighborhood Project. Each week we cover a different Milwaukee neighborhood. 88Nine could create a challenge or scavenger hunt in that neighborhood, and we could give prizes to the first person or team to complete those challenges in that neighborhood. This gives the listener a chance to really explore and learn about the neighborhood we covered on air, and the listener to have fun and compete with their friends. I see a lot or promise and potential in this where Foursquare and Gowalla falls short. Currently, SCVNGR works for iPhone and the Android platform; however, they are working on implementing other platforms. They are currently working on a new version of the their SCVNGR builder, which allows one to build various challenges. Check out the video below to learn more about them.