Friday, February 26, 2010

Placecast's ShopAlerts to Deliver on Mobile Promise

Greg Sterling posted an interesting announcement from Placecast. If you haven't heard of Placecast and you are interested in monetizing LBS or hyperlocal initiatives you should get to know what they do.I met them a year ago at Where 2.0 and discovered they could close the gap between my geovision and implementation.

Placecast's ShopAlerts allows retailers to create automated SMS alerts that are sent to consumers when they are near a retail outlet with which they have opted-in. Then as the consumer goes about their daily life they are automatically alerted when they are near a retail location of any specials. A key to ShopAlerts is that it does not require a smartphone. Someday this will not be a competitive advantage but for now it is because most people don't use smartphones. According to Screenwerk, four retailers are on board at launch: SONIC, American Eagle Outfitters, and REI.

This is the second announcement this week where a company is delivering on the early promise of mobile and LBS. Loopt made an announcement  for a pay per action solution coming soon.
Update 2/27: It looks like North Face is also experimenting with Placecasts approach. According to Media Buyer Planner North Face has a campaign where Placecast "created 1,000 fenced areas in and around the cities where the North Face has many stores. The North Face also chose locations where there is a lot of snow and rain, so it could tailor its messages to the weather."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Patent Links Location to Access Permissions

Google filed for and was awarded a patent for restricting access to documents based on -- in part -- the users location. The patent reads:

United States Patent: 7664751: "Users may be presented with different viewing interfaces for a document based on a combination of factors relating to display rights possessed for the document and user specific information. In one implementation, the user's location is used to determine portions of the document that can be displayed to the user. More particularly, access privileges to a document for a user are determined based on geographical location information of the user and based on access rights possessed for the document. Portions of the document may then be formatted for display to the user based on the determined access privileges."

I'm not sure what Google is thinking. Maybe they are anticipating that publishers will want to restrict access based on DMA, similar to broadcast companies and sports clubs. Or, maybe they want to restrict access to documents based on proximity to a building such as a library or the pentagon.