What happens when you combine a location-based service like Foursquare or Gowalla with a mobile photo-sharing service Mobipicture? You get PlacePop.
Like Foursquare, the location-based social networking iPhone app PlacePop lets users “check-in” into locations anywhere. Launched just last week, it aims to be ‘a digital punch-card for every place in the world’ and designed to be easy-to-use, straightforward and accessible to a wider audience. Its status model – users gain status anytime they visit local businesses and leveling up to Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum status – also smacks of Foursquare‘s badge system.
What is there to like about PlacePop? The fact that you can share photos of the places you visit with your friends, something currently not offered by the incumbents.
A Customer Affinity Marketing Program
PlacePop is really pitching itself as an affinity marketing program that local businesses can use to track their customer’s visits and reward them. In addition, users can offer suggestions to local businesses on its platform, which adds a new level of interaction between users and businesses. Whether it can steal some thunder off Foursquare, which has also started to engage businesses, remains to be seen.
A distinct disadvantage for PlacePop is that it’s currently limited to the iPhone, while its competitors already have applications that work on other mobile OSes such as Blackberry and Android. While this is unlikely to be a problem in the United States, scaling to other parts of the world with a far lower iPhone penetration will be a challenge.
PlacePop is developed by San Francisco-based consumer technology greenhouse Ooga Labs and founded in 2009 by Kent Lindstrom, former CEO of the social networking website Friendster.