Millions of people check in to services like Foursquare, Facebook, Yelp, Gowalla and Twitter every day. If local merchants knew where these users were, who they were talking to and what they liked, they could reach out to bring in new customers.
But your average restaurant owner doesn’t have time to learn and monitor multiple location based services. LocalResponse, which launches tonight, aims to provide a simple, out of the box solution for businesses to connect this new breed of consumer.
LocalResponse, is a pivot from the folks at Buzzd, who built a city guide based on the same concept, aggregating data from different services to help users figure out what locations were trending nearby or relevant to them. “Buzzd is doing well, 500k unique users in march, but the team is now 110% focused on growing Localresponse, a much bigger business opportunity,” said co-founder and CEO Nihal Mehta. “We’re now in advanced discussions to find Buzzd a good home.”
Best of luck to Buzzd scoring some new digs. This time the team is putting that aggregate location data to work targeting consumers and rewarding influencers. “”Our data is more valuable to local merchants and brands than to the consumer,” says Mehta. So for example Webster Hall would use Localresponse to see everyone who was checking in and perhaps offer up a free drink to users who shouted out the concert to friends or public feeds.
Sometimes this kind of data is explicit. A check in on Foursquare requires me to select a specific venue first. Folks can also check in on Facebook or attach location data to Twitter posts, but more often users just provide a status update on those two services. So in addition to reading obvious locations, LocalResponse tries to analyze natural language from simple phrases like, “I’m heading to Madison Square Garden!” and extract useful information about where users are.
“I have seen a lot of start-ups try to crack this formula,” says Matt Meeker, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dogpatch Labs NY. “But this is one of the few that I have seen that seems like it will actually scale with the growth of these services, and work for local merchants right out of the box.”
Localresponse plans to roll out the platform with big brands in the near future, and blue chip names like Coca-cola, Kraft, Nordstrom, American Express and Verizon have signed on to launch loyalty campaigns through Localresponse. It has competition from social media managment services like Social Sprout and the General Assembly based Postling. It will also be interesting to see how things develop with services that provide the raw material of check in data, like Foursquare for example, which are in many ways competing for the same advertising dollars.