Gowalla, a location-based service that gives users virtual prizes and discounts for checking in to locations. Basically, it’s a direct competitor to Foursquare.
So the news today that Gowalla has signed a major deal with Disney could be seen as a sign that the Austin-based service is a growing threat to one of NY’s hottest startups.
But the partnership is actually very limited in scope. The fun of location-based apps, after all, is that they help users discover new places and activites.
The Gowalla-Disney deal only works in the very limited and prescribed setting of Disney Parks. It certainly might win some new, more mainstream users this way, but it doesn’t really change the dynamic between the two companies.
Reaching a critical mass of users and local businesses is what will win this sector in the long run, and Foursquare is ten times larger than Gowalla with better growth.