If I had a dime for every time I checked in there…

I recently decided to reevaluate my use of location-based check-in apps. For some time I’ve been an avid Foursquare user (Don’t try friending me, unless you know me, because I don’t want to go down that whole stalker road again), but I have been hearing more about some other services and wanted to give them a shot. After reading a few articles of some up and coming apps, I added, to my repertoire of attendance takers, these fine specimens: SCVNGR, Gowalla, Loopt, and Friendsaround. The following is a summary of my in-depth, scientific testing. Yeah, Yeah, that’s what it was.

Loopt quickly got axed because of its fondness for wanting to keep my location beacon active on my phone, leading to quicker than average battery drain.  In addition, Loopt really had nothing to offer me for my check ins, aside from letting my friends (one) know where I was.  I mean come on, you’ve got to give me something.  All I’m asking for is a points system, or nicely designed badges.  I’d even settle for a funny sound upon checking in.  Yet, what did I get from this app? Nothing but heartbreak. Loopt, You’re Fired!

Following quickly behind Loopt on the delete-o-matic was Friendsaround. It had potential, but ended up being:

  1. Too confusing – What’s a Fame, and why should I want it? I supposedly have 520 of them.  Is there a cash equivalent?
  2. Ugly to look at – Really, orange? Who thought that was a good idea? Frank, pack up your things and turn in your badge.
  3. “No venues have been loaded yet.” – When trying to do a quick check in, so as to not look like you are married to your phone, there is nothing more annoying than having to create the place you are checking into.  I can understand once in a while having to, but come on, do I really go to that unpopular of places?  Beets-R-Us, had to create it.  Snuggie factory tour, no one? The Love Shack, I don’t care what the sign says, it’s a little old place where we can get together, just not check-in. Friendsaround, you are the weakest link, goodbye!

Now SCVNGR has a lot of potential, but still has aways to go. It has a points system, but I can’t figure out why, just that I’m accruing them. The badges are nice, but nothing interesting.  Some businesses are even offering discounts for using the app, but these are smaller local places and the discounts aren’t that amazing.  Where I can see SCVNGR really taking off is the challenges portion.  You can create or do a task at the location and then get points for it.  It could be anything from take a picture and post it while you’re there, to answer a question related to where you are.  The problem so far is that I have only come across one place to have one of these challenges already created.  I guess I could just start making them, but from the looks of it, I may be the only one. SCVNGR, I’m sorry to tell you that you have been eliminated from the race.

From everything I can tell, Gowalla has the second largest amount of users, next to Foursquare. It works like a virtual passport, where you collect badges, pins, and items from locations you check-in to. I really like the custom location badges for a plethora of nationwide businesses.  The items are very intriguing to me.  With in the period of my testing I have collected a pair of ski boots, a scarf, and two digital slr cameras.  What these are used for, I have no idea, but if some one out there knows, please tell me. So Gowalla, you passed the test.  Don’t get to comfortable though, one peep out of you and back to the cellar you’ll go.

Foursquare is good to me, and completely out in front of the competition.  There’s still nothing comparable, in the other apps, to being mayor of a location in foursquare.  More and more businesses are offering discounts through foursquare, and some of them are actually pretty good. For now, this is still the best check-in app available.

In the end, if you are in to checking in, just find something that you have fun doing. Then, try to convince your friends to do it to. So, what’s your experience with these apps?  Have one you like? Are you linking it up with Twitter or Facebook?  Most importantly, explain to me the Gowalla items? Please, I’m begging you.

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One Response to If I had a dime for every time I checked in there…

  1. Nice analysis. I really wish Gowalla had a larger user base because I think it is more aesthetically pleasing and little more interesting than Foursquare. As far as actually meeting people at places because we both checked there, Foursquare is the way to go.

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