It’s finally gotten out of hand. We need a ping.fm style service for location-based social networks.
I recent bought some new glasses from Park Slope Eye, a local shop that’s very big into using Yelp. They have the coveted “People Love Us On Yelp” sticker in the window and have begun to offer a $25 gift certificate to one of Park Slope’s awesome local businesses if you are in the store and check in using Yelp’s latest feature. Sounds awesome, right?
My issue is that I am a regular FourSquare and PegShot user, and don’t have the Yelp app installed on my iPhone, nor do I have the MyTown app, BrightKite or Gowalla. In order to take advantage of this offer from Park Slope Eye, I have to install the Yelp app on my phone before my glasses are ready and remember to check in on Yelp after checking in on FourSquare and taking a photo and sending it to PegShot. Then there are micro location networks popping up like Shakedown (disclaimer: I contributed sound design to the app). Suddenly, letting people know where I am has turned into a chore.
If it’s a problem for the person checking in, it must be a larger pain for the businesses who want to encourage people to checkin at their location. Which to choose? Yelp offers a tie in to their amazing back catalog of reviews, but FourSquare seems to be the trend that’s breaking out of the geek circles. Each network has their own community and strengths.
Back before Twitter established itself as the leader of the market for social networking microblogs, Ping.fm helped the user frustration by creating a one-to-many system (broadcasting) for sending information to the networks. I think it might be time for someone to take the opportunity to enable users to check in to one location on multiple networks. As a user, I know that I’d use it and I know many other people who would too.