The use of geolocation marketing is in the wind like never before, and many companies are taking advantage of the great marketing it can provide. With applications like Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrrl, and MyTown, companies can easily connect with users to market their business. In August of 2010, Facebook enhanced their service by adding Places as a new functionality. As with the other geolocation based services, Places lets you check in at your current location to share it with friends and possibly take advantage of any offers nearby.
The viral loop about location based services is that the more friends you have in your network, the more useful and robust the service gets. The incentive to invite friends to become users of the same services drive more and more consumers into using location based services. Another factor playing into the popularity of geolocation is that the applications are often set up as entertaining games, where users must achieve certain goals to collect their rewards. Many services provide users points based on the situation of their check-in (i.e. getting 5 points for checking in the first time and earning 1 point for each additional check-in), some let you earn badges (i.e. checking in at three different Starbuck locations) and some are set up as more of a scavenger hunt where you have to complete given tasks in order to move to the next level. The ability for marketers to reach consumers directly on their mobile devices, especially with the widespread use of smartphones is next to priceless. When using personal devices with applications they sign into with username and passwords, users for the most part get only the content they demand from the marketers.