Patel Grows Tired of the Check-In, LBS

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally written for Emerson Social Media]

Before you go throwing some sort of tirade, let it be known that the above title is in no way an indication that AdAge writer Kunur Patel is overweight. No, the LBS above refers to location-based services – those such as FoursquareGowalla and SCVNGRPatel’s latest article for Adagedetails her disappointment and loss of interest in the ability to check in to virtually anything – places, things and even people.

She recently performed an experiment to see if she could stand checking in to everything she could possibly think of over the course of one recent weekend. Spoiler: she couldn’t. To be fair, Patel seems to know her check-in market rather well. She is an active user of the usual suspects, as well as more niche services such as Stickybits. However, she professes that she exhausted herself of the check-in during this experiment, and proceeds to throw the entire LBS/check-in market under the bus as a result.

This is unfair for many reasons. First of all, the purpose of location-based services and check-in services is not to check in to every possible location and thing that you can. Had she been more selective with her check-ins and only opted to interact with the locations and things for which she could provide meaningful context, she might have found herself enjoying herself more.

Second of all, and similarly, the purpose of the LBS/check-in market is to go beyond the check-in, and create valuable content. By leaving recommendations or interesting anecdotes, perhaps Patel might have been able to inspire engagement from her social graph, thus elevating the perceived value of her LBS and check-in services.

And finally, to dismiss the entire market space because of poor user numbers is ridiculous. Where would Twitter be today if the early adopters had given up in 2008? This market is so new and full of so much possibility that tossing it aside in its infancy is rather foolish. There are innovative opportunities, as we will see very soon, to merge LBS with group buying and other emerging technologies to open up entirely new markets.

So to Patel – don’t give up just yet. You’ve got a long journey ahead of you with us Foursquare and SCVNGR users. And to the marketers using LBS and creating LBS platforms – let’s come up with more innovative and creative applications for these services so that situations like this don’t happen again.


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