Truly putting the Social into Location Based Services.
But the stand out feature for me is what I’m calling the Private Geo Messaging feature. Here’s why.
For those of us that have been working on geosocial for a while, the million dollar question is this: once the thrill of badges and points have worn off, how do you keep people checking in?
Foursquare, Facebook Places, and SCVNGR have raced to offer monetary incentives to check in – specifically, deals. Their bet is that people will continue to check in if they can get discounts and free stuff.
With their new private geo messaging feature, Gowalla is gambling that private notes and messages left at specific places by friends for friends, that can be read only by checking into the specific venue where the note was posted, can trump (or at least complement) coupons as the bait that keeps people checking in.
I’ve long argued that compelling content, that isn’t necessarily coupon related, can be enough of a carrot to get people to check in. What Gowalla has launched is a user generated content machine, in which every piece of content has been created for a specific person, and tagged to a location.
Gowalla private geo messaging is personal, geotargeted, and crowdsourced.