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.
Veronica Sopher says
I’ve been aware of Whrrl and its fantastic team for a long while now, but didn’t really start using it and loving it until I switched from Blackberry to iPhone. It’s getting better with every new feature. I especially agree with your 3rd point. It’s so important to take it beyond just checking in, and rewarding frequent visits doesn’t make sense for many industries.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Jason Yormark says
Thanks Veronica. Yea, I’m definitely a fan. I really think if they can get some more deals lined up for users, they have a chance. The only way they’ll reach critical mass is if they give real incentives for the everyday user and not just the social media nuts like us.
Diana Wei says
Interesting. Whats your thoughts about Yelp’s Check In by the way? I’m Yelper, so it just became natural to be hooked on that since my community is with Yelp.
Jason Yormark says
Hi Diana. I’ve tried Yelp’s check in. It’s nothing more then just that. No bells or whistles, and from what I can tell, no real incentive to do so. That’s the trick with check in apps, incentives for people to stick with it and that’s where I believe Whrrl exceeds.
I’m surprised you didn’t test out Gowalla being that it is/was a competitor with FourSquare. But this is the first time I’m hearing of Whrrl I’ll def. have to check it out. Today, I also learned of a new “trusted” professional social network. Weeble.com. Not sure what I think about it because I already have Linkedin. I think it’s time to ask…when is enough, enough?
Jason Yormark says
I tried it briefly but wasn’t all that impressed. You are right though, it’s getting crowded and their isn’t much room for everyone. I feel Whrrl’s approach is unique however and hope that they survive.
Scott Morris says
I tried out whrrl based on your recommendation, and I really dig it. It’s been hard as of late for me to really immerse in it, but I have really enjoyed getting to post pictures, love the interface, and I like the “society/community” aspect of it, as you noted.
As a basic Foursquare user – and someone who worked awfully hard to be mayor f the #1 Starbucks in town – I must admit I was won over. (I still do both, for the time being)
I am on a blackberry…which is a bit awkward. But I know ‘someday’ I’ll have a more social phone
Thanks for the tip…