Location, Location, Location – December 22, 2011

First up, a new and interesting concept in the location-based world – Eeve is a new service (currently iPhone only) that allows users to set up and contribute to temporary photo albums based on events happening at a location. So, one user starts an “Eeve” and others can then upload photos taken at the same event to the group photo album. As this post points out, probably a great way to capture photos people have taken at an event like a wedding or any other large celebration where people would usually take lots of pictures… [TechCrunch]

In with the new, out with the old – apparently one of the first location-based “check-in” services BrightKite, which apparently ceased to be focused on check-ins like a year ago, has now ceased its apps existence entirely. However, a pithy statement in the app’s place reads, “This is not goodbye… we’re just moving on to something better. Watch this space. We have an update coming soon.” So, you know, do that, if you’re interested… [TechCrunch]

And now that we’ve given you the news on anything that isn’t Foursquare in the location space, we guess it’s time to get back to our bread and butter…

In case you’re a Foursquare for Blackberry user, we’re sure you’ll be happy to know that like your iPhone and Android toting brethren, you too now have access to “Lists” right from your Foursquare app. But we’re sure you’ll be even happier to know that your feed of friends’ check-ins will now show any associated images right in your feed… [IntoMobile]

And while we’re on the topic of lists, here’s a list…of tips on how to create fun, useful, and interesting Foursquare lists, whether you’re a brand or personal Foursquare user… [About Foursquare]

In other Foursquare news less about the service but still about using it creatively – apparently a PR manager from the UK is documenting the history of certain rappers’ lives using the service, beginning with Tupac Shakur. We believe he has created a list of the venues relevant to Tupac’s beginnings and life, and apparently his next conquest will be uber-hip hop star, Jay-Z… [The Next Web]

Finally, on the new badges tip…

First, AT&T just announced that it will begin offering football fans (college football fans, anyway) the Football Fanatic badge, which they can get by checking in to either one of five BCS bowl games between January 2 and January 9, or checking in to a sports bar during that same time frame. Users who unlock the badge can also enter themselves into a sweepstakes to win a trip to the 2013 BCS National Championship game… [About Foursquare]

Also, the latest city badges (which we recently mentioned Foursquare had decided to roll out based on the success of its dedicated Chicago badge) Foursquare announced this week go to Atlanta in the US, and Singapore abroad… [About Foursquare]

Just Another Brick in the Paywall – December 22, 2011

We’re still not sure what the geographic makeup of our readership looks like, but if any of you out there are up north in Maine, news of the latest paywall in daily newspapers may interest you. Apparently MaineToday.com MAY be set to become the digital hub for the three MaineToday Media newspapers – the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel. And apparently, MaineToday.com may get a paywall sooner than the previously announced April 2012 date… [DownEast.com]

Not exactly paywall news, but since it involves a pretty major US daily we recently reported had erected its own paywall, we figured what the hell. Apparently the Chicago Sun-Times was just sold to several investors for $20 million, further details of which deal you may freely read about at the following link… [Huffington Post]

But perhaps the most interesting story we’ve read about paywalls (at least the metered kind we’ve seen become particularly popular after the NY Times implemented one), Jeff Jarvis raises the point that by only charging users once they’ve consumed a certain relatively voluminous quantity of articles, aren’t you in effect penalizing your most loyal readers? And what if you rewarded those same readers instead (which he acknowledges may be too idealistic, but nevertheless interesting)? [BuzzMachine via paidcontent.org]

Just Another Brick in the Paywall – December 19, 2011

So, pretty much the biggest news in paid content lately is that another one of this country’s largest daily newspapers is about to become the latest to implement a paywall. On the heels of the Chicago Sun-Times’ recent announcement, apparently Los Angeles’ LA Times will be launching its own paywall in the first quarter of 2012, which will come first with the Times’ already announced tablet (yes, an actual tablet, not an app), and will be “modeled after” that of the NY Times… [Reuters]

But as one door metaphorically closes (or something like that), another opens…slightly, anyway. And by that, I mean – apparently, the writing of special contributors to the otherwise paywalled Dallas Morning News, will now be spared from that paper’s paywall… [Dallas Morning News]

Location, Location, Location – December 19, 2011

First up – probably the coolest thing we’ve seen lately involving location services – apparently NBCPolitics.com and Foursquare have teamed up in advance of, and pursuant to the 2012 Presidential race to show users where candidates are “visiting” or “checked in to”… [TheNextWeb]

So, we’ve mentioned numerous tourism initiatives on Foursquare in the past, principally driven by (as you would expect) local/state tourism boards. But now, cities around the world may be getting some help from the service itself. Apparently, Foursquare recently announced the creation of “City Badges” (after the success of its Chicago badge), beginning with badges for London, Paris and Istanbul, creating lists of some of the best places to visit in those cities. When users check in to five of the listed venues, they can get the badge(s)… [About Foursquare]

Just in case any of you out there are interested in application/web service design – Foursquare actually provides a pretty good example. Many services spend so much of their time focusing on acquiring new users (which is smart in that most social services aren’t worth much without you know, people using them), they sometimes forget about the user experience for existing users. Well, not Foursquare… [Business Insider]

And shifting gears (/location-based services) – just in case you needed quantification of how Gowalla was doing vs. Foursquare, here’s an infographic with specific numbers showing what I think we all already acknowledged… [About Foursquare]

Finally, because we know you were all concerned about the implications of Facebook buying Gowalla for Gowalla investors – apparently, the deal “didn’t screw [them] over,” or over inflate the benefit for Gowalla employees who got assimilated into the Facebook machine…so, yeah… [Business Insider]

Location, Location, Location – December 9, 2011

So, if you’ve been following the trials and tribulations of the location-based services space over the course of this blogs two plus year existence, you probably know that Dunkin’ Donuts is pretty active on social media, and has integrated location-based services into that mix before. But most recently, it announced a promotion at locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, whereby users who check in at a participating location (can check in up to three times a day) on Foursquare or Facebook Places, now through December 23rd get the chance to win prizes including, “gift cards from 1800Flowers, Mountain Creek and Pinstripe Bowl, coffee and Dunkin’ Donuts merchandise.” They also get entered into a sweepstakes, the prize for which is $1,000 gift card and a “Travelpro luggage package”… [PSFK]

And of course, what would one of these posts be without Foursquare news? Speaking at Le Web conference this week, Founder and CEO Dennis Crowley continued to trumpet what Foursquare sees as its best opportunity to add value and thus users in the future – basically, the ability to provide recommendations to users, whether they be venue recommendations or otherwise. He also noted that the service would start leaning on applications using its API to get more data back than it has in the past… [TechCrunch]

Also, perhaps you remember earlier in the week, Forrester released new data from a survey that showed only 5% of US online adults (again, a more direct measure of penetration would have been % of US smartphone users) are using location-based services. Well, correspondingly, Forrester’s CEO rather brashly commented at Le Web, “we believe this will sweep away some of the nonsense like Foursquare and some of these time-wasting social applications”…and, as you can imagine, Foursquare’s Crowley took exception to that statement… [WSJ]

New Foursquare badge for you Chicagoans – in the wake of Time Out New York offering something similar, Time Out Chicago is now offering its own 100 best badge, which users can get by following the publication on Foursquare and checking in to two places on its “100 Best Things We Ate or Drank in 2011″ list… [About Foursquare]

One of the things Foursquare has been doing lately is integrating daily deals offers into its service in order to become more useful and thus more relevant to users. But, apparently it’s about to have some competition in that effort from Google, which is integrating Google Offers into Google+, which has apparently let users check in for a little while now… [TechCrunch]

Just Another Brick in the Paywall – December 9, 2011

The biggest news this morning is that another major US daily has announced its move to erect a paywall. The Chicago Sun-Times will apparently become the latest such publication to require users to pay for digital access to its content, and the model looks something like that of the New York Times – readers can access up to 20 free articles per month, after which they will be asked to subscribe for $6.99 a month or $77.87 a year…oh, and print subscribers don’t get free digital access, they have to pay $1.99 a month… [Reuters]

From time to time we have noted how certain publications have fared post-paywall announcement, and today is no exception. Apparently the publishing giant Hearst is now claiming that it will have over a million paying digital subscribers for its titles in 2012 (it has about 400k as of right now). Of course, Hearst obviously has a number of different titles, probably with varying degrees of subscribers, so whether this is really success or just progress is kind of unclear. Either way… [paidcontent.org]

And speaking of reporting performance – apparently the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has experienced at 10-15% dip in unique visitors, but an increase in revenue, which we have to assume is a success story for them, despite less unique readers (which is bound to happen when you start to charge for content). Apparently this means “5,900 ‘completely new all-digital access subscriptions’,” as well as 2,100 Sunday print subscribers adding digital access… [MinnPost - Braublog]

Finally, apparently changes are coming for a number of CA local daily newspapers. Northern California’s Times-Standard, along with five or so other local dailies, which are otherwise paywalled, will now be offering free digital access for readers on Mondays, and no longer be charging print subscribers for digital access… [Times-Standard]

Location, Location, Location – December 7, 2011

Well, despite what we highlighted on Monday about Foursquare’s penetration outside of the US coasts, perhaps it’s not as pervasive as that may have suggested, since just one day later, a new Forrester research report has revealed that just 5% of “US online adults” use location apps at least once a month (up only 4% from 2010). But just to be fair, smartphone penetration in the US is still less than 30%, so talking about location app usage in terms of online adults might be slightly deceiving. A better measure would be location app usage among American smartphone owners… [AdAge]

Either way, we now know that a little more than six months after it announced it had reached 10 million users, Foursquare now has over 15 million users, half of which are in the US. And with Gowalla now going away as of January, and other more niche services still not exactly hitting the mainstream, it should be interesting to see how the user base continues to grow… [Mashable]

But, Foursquare may have a competitor in Facebook anew… apparently, a forthcoming Facebook release may be a dedicated Facebook Places app called “Nearby,” which seems realistic, given Facebook’s acquisition of Gowalla’s talent…so, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see… [Mashable]

Elsewhere, back in the world of Foursquare, apparently the service just started to offer two new options to business/venue managers. The first, is the option to peg a special deal to either individual venues, or an entire chain, so franchised companies can have better control over how specials work at their various locations. The second, is the ability to define a start and end date for specials… [About Foursquare]

And finally, an interesting Foursquare mash up app for you frequent travelers – TripsQ, accesses your Foursquare check-ins and data in order to tell you how many miles you have traveled over the time you have been using Foursquare… [TheNextWeb]

Location, Location, Location – December 5, 2011

Well, when Gowalla decided a few months back that it had always been a platform for “lifecasting” (basically chronicling your life in digital form – not that they called it lifecasting, but that’s our way of describing it), we’re not sure too many understood what that meant/would mean. And, even though it rolled out some features it claimed were pursuant to realizing this positioning, the fact that Facebook just bought the service (or at least its talent) this past Friday might just be validation of the service’s mission to allow people to share how their lives are playing out through the web. The Gowalla team (or at least part of it) apparently will move to Facebook’s HQ in order to help the uber social network work on its semi-recently announced Timeline, which (some of us already have) similarly aims to help people share their lives with their friends/families… [CNN]

Slightly smaller news, but Foursquare last week finally rolled out the “Save to Foursquare” buttons it claimed to be releasing not long ago. Foursquare users will now see “Save to Foursquare” buttons on venue-relevant pages around teh interwebz that users can click in order to add those venues to their lists of places they’d like to go/things they’d like to do. The other button Foursquare also released is the “Follow on Foursquare” button, which brands that are on the service can place on their sites to allow users to follow them without having to go to Foursquare’s website or app… [AdAge]

In other Foursquare news today – users can now add photos to their tips through Foursquare.com. Previously, they were only able to do so through the service’s app. The other recent (semi-important) update for Foursquare – the service also decided to reward the expertise badges it recently announced to users retroactively. So, if you’re a mall frequenter, for example, you should now be rewarded with the badge appropriate for your level of pro-ness (yes, we know that’s totally not a word at all)… [About Foursquare - Pics to Site, Expertise Badges]

Finally, one thing we often hear is that Foursquare is only used by/relevant to those of us on the coasts, and particularly in cities, ala New York. But, if this data on Wal-Mart’s Black Friday check-ins is to be believed, perhaps that is not necessarily the case (or at least not the case on a day when many people are out and about looking for deals and promotions – which retailers provided via Foursquare – in particular)… [AdAge]

Location, Location, Location – November 30, 2011

Brand new location-based mash up service for all you foodies out there – the aptly titled Fondu is a new app that allows users to rate/review restaurants they frequent (or even the ones they don’t). Users can see a list of nearby restaurants, or even access their recent Foursquare check-ins in order to select and rate/review those restaurants to help other users decide where they’d like to go (their friends can see their reviews in a news feed and there’s a map that shows what restaurants are “hot” in a given location)… [TechCrunch]

As you may or may not remember, one of the things Foursquare has added in order to make itself more useful/relevant/exciting for users is integration with daily deals (or just plain old deals) services. We had already mentioned its integrating LivingSocial and GroupOn services, in particular, but the latest such service to enter the fold is ScoutMob, which also offers daily local deals that actually work more like Foursquare deals in the first place (and at 50% or more off, are pretty valuable). So, now Foursquare users can take advantage of the deals ScoutMob offers just by checking in on Foursquare, although the service only offers deals in 13 US cities… [TechCrunch]

Typically, there has been little advantage to owning one type of phone over another in terms of using Foursquare as a service. But, one of the coolest new technologies in location, which we’ve mentioned here before – NFC or near field communication – has now been added as an update to Foursquare’s Symbian app. So, if you happen to have a Symbian-based phone (not sure that applies to many of us in the US), you could theoretically now check in to locations without even having to open the Foursquare app by just waving your phone at an NFC enabled sign or poster… [TheNextWeb]

Another thing we’ve mentioned in the past is how certain locales – typically the tourism board’s of states and cities – have gotten into the Foursquare game in order to bring users the best of their areas. And we even recently mentioned how Chicago’s Mayor joined Foursquare. But now, he’s joined by Tampa Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, who will serve as digital liaison to his city through Foursquare… [TheNextWeb]

You may remember how Foursquare recently launched “expertise” or basically leveled badges for certain things like the Mall and/or Gym Rat badge, the Greasy Spoon badge, etc. Well, it also launched a new one of those recently, that being the Treat Yo’ Self badge, which users can get by checking in to a spa either five times or to three different spas (for the level 1 badge)… [About Foursquare]

Finally, in case you’re interested, Foursquare actually released an infographic last week about usage on Black Friday 2010, intro’ing some of the things users could expect from the service for Black Friday 2011, including deals and specials… [Foursquare via SearchEngineLand]

Just Another Brick in the Paywall – November 30, 2011

Despite just surpassing 100,000 paid digital subscribers (through web, smartphone and tablet access) in October, apparently The Economist now claims to have generated “~11 million dollars in revenue from subscribers” (a year-long subscription costs a user $110)… [Business Insider]

The only other country whose publications’ paywalls we have covered as much as or more than this one’s has historically been the UK, where many of the major dailies anyway have gone paid at some point in the past couple of years. But one such publication, the Daily Mail (Mail Online) has remained and declared a commitment to remain free on the web (though smartphone and tablet subscribers do have to pay for access through those channels). Nevertheless, apparently recent research shows that if asked to, Mail Online readers would actually pay for “certain aspects of the [web] content”… [paidcontent.org]

Periodically, we have highlighted editorials pondering different aspects and the merits of newspapers and other publications’ digital paywalls, usually the latter. But here’s a discussion of “why can’t newspapers make money online?,” in which they talk about how advertising-supported models work for other publications across the web, as well as the fact that there are usually plenty of local digital alternatives that are free, and of course, how much digital newspaper ads cost over other web channels (almost 300% more than the national average!)… [Mashable]