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Whrrl Acquired by Groupon, and Being Shut Down

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Groupon and Pelago (creator of location-based program Whrrl) both posted on their blogs this week that Pelago has been acquired by the group buying site.

whrrl The most important aspect of this news is that Whrrl is being shut down by the end of the month. For good? Pelago explains:

We’ve made the decision to close the curtain on Whrrl for now. Think of it as the end of the first act of a long and complex play. You would be right to expect that the ideas underpinning Whrrl and many of the inventions contained within may reemerge under the Groupon banner.

What does that mean for existing Whrrl users? Well, if they log on they will now find the option to retrieve all their data, and “ultimately have the opportunity to use it again.” So, this bit encourages fans of the application that they will get to use the tool in some greater capacity, hopefully in the near future.

Whrrl has always been more than just “checking in”. They encourage users to give and receive recommendations about locations and activities via the service. Since Groupon is tied to locations and discounts, I can see how merging the two applications could lead to bigger and better things on both fronts.

What do you think of the acquisition? Are you a Whrrl user and wish it would stay active?

Holidays 2010: All About Location-Based Services?

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Although Foursquare was around this time last year, this is the first holiday season where I think we’ll see significant use of location-based social networking by shoppers. While users have long-used apps to locate stores, I think we’ll see a rise in usage this year for one main reason: coupons.

According to a survey as seen on Mashable, an average of 30 percent of users are willing to travel move than five miles to redeem a coupon. Of the 1200 surveyed, 21 percent are already using mobile coupons and 36 percent expect product descriptions found on location apps to be valuable while doing holiday shopping. Times are still tough, and just like last year, shoppers are willing to give up convenience of shopping online, shopping at a single store, or shopping at the nearest store to save money. I know I am.

So what does this all mean to you?

For Businesses:

  1. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, consider offering a coupon via location-based apps like Foursquare and Whrrl. In general, the better coupon you offer, the farther customers will travel to redeem it.
  2. Produce descriptions will go a long way in convincing someone to come to your store. Even if you can’t afford an awesome coupon, smart usage of location-based services can help you attract customers.
  3. Publicize your location-based app deals. If you leave it up to the customer to stumble upon what you’re offering, you won’t see much of  response.
  4. If you’re online-only, it might not make sense to offer coupons for location-based services, but don’t forget that offering coupons during the holiday season is a great way to drum up some business. Even if you’re a blogger offering an ebook, discounts during the holidays are appreciated.

For Shoppers:

  1. If you use a location-based service to find someone, especially a small business, tell the cashier as you check out. It encourages them to continue using the service.
  2. Do searches before you leave home to find the best deals and coupons being offered.
  3. Considering downloading a few different apps, since coupons could be offered through some, but not others. For example, Foursquare is great when I’m around home because some of the businesses I frequent offer coupons, but while I was at BlogWorld, Whrrl gave me amazing deals.

Will you be using location-based social networking this holiday season?

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