What does it mean for you to be the mayor?

Location-based checkins via Foursquare, Google Places, Facebook Places, or other apps provide smartphone users a venue for sharing their mobile adventures with their friends and tweeps. Mashable recently published an article about the future of location-based checkins, and we wanted to weigh in.

The article mentions “a new Memphis-based startup called stiQRd. The premise of stiQRd is simple: a location network that prevents unverifiable check-ins.” With stiQRd, establishments are geo-locked, which prevents the drive-by checkin. This app also allows the opportunity for businesses to offer digitized loyalty or “punch cards.” The idea is that a QR code in the establishment would register your visit.

This definitely would be practical because you would no longer worry about losing or locating the paper cards that are currently used. However, I enjoy the convenience of being able to check in at my table or in the car; I wouldn’t want to fumble with my phone while I’m trying to hold food or pick out clothes.  Admittedly, there’s also something satisfying about turning in my hole-punched card and proving that I have eaten 10 burritos in the last 6 months.

All in all, I’m not particularly sure where the future of location-based checkins is headed: Foursquare offers quite a few local deals, but not in every location. Digitized loyalty cards would be exciting, but what about those who don’t have a smartphone? Thoughts?

Maybe businesses could set-up straightforward coupons based on how many times you have visited, so that prizes are not limited to one person. For example, for every 5 visits, you could get a free cup of coffee or an extra 30 minutes on a massage at a discount.I’m sure there are issues with this scenario as well, but I hope developers will consider options for the future that address some of the existing location-based concerns. Many folks are hesitant about checking in for security reasons or because the app reliability isn’t 100%. Or simply because they don’t know anyone who also uses the platform. Foursquare friends, anyone?

(P.S. Speaking of social platforms, don’t forget about our Seidio Facebook and Twitter!)

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