I have to admit, it took me awhile to actually spend any real time with the location based social networks. I didn’t see the value in it, not to mention, 90% of the time I would never really remember to pull out my phone to check in anywhere. There wasn’t any real value to me to try to do it more.
I’ve been wanting to write more about these services, but not until I was able to really give them a good try and for the past few weeks, I’ve immersed myself into really 3 choices, Facebook Places, Foursquare and Whrrl. And for my money, Whrrl is hands down the best experience of the three.
I know there are a few other players out there, but let’s be honest, just like anything else, there’s only room for a few. Facebook Places will survive because it’s Facebook, and Foursquare has carved out a giant piece of the location based pie so they’re most likely in. That probably only leaves room for one more player, and I certainly hope it’s Whrrl.
So why I’m I on board the Whrrl train?
1. Community. It’s the only one of the three that truly has a community feel to it. I love the concept of “societies” which involve real groups of different passions and interests. Checking in to similar types of establishments earns you points towards those societies making you more of an influencer. It’s unique and most importantly fun, which makes me want to use the app more.
2. UI/Design. I’m using their iPhone app and it’s beautiful. Easy to use, and I love the design.
3. Beyond Checking In. With Whrrl, it’s not just about checking in that makes you influential. Providing reviews and having your recommendations passed on earn you points as well. You can share photos and create overall stories about your experiences.
That being said, they do have some work to do to make themselves a true player in the game. As it stands, the # of users is nowhere near Places or Foursquare which makes it a bit tougher. Not many in my network are Whrrl users and most people that would even consider using a service like this are only going to pick one. I think they need a killer feature/offering to make it happen and if I were them, I’d be working the business partnerships HARD. If they could get some national partnerships to offer up some nice deals they could make a dent here. Or better yet, build up a sales team and hit the local scene hard. There are TONS of small to medium sized businesses out there that would love the opportunity. They just don’t know about it and need some hand holding to bring them along. What business wouldn’t be on board with rewarding their most frequent customers? It’s more scalable then offering a deal to EVERY customer, which makes it more likely they’ll be on board long term.
If you haven’t tried Whrrl, I highly recommend giving it a shot. I think you’ll find the experience enjoyable, and I’m pulling for them to break through.