The marketplace for mobile apps that let you log-in your location and broadcast this information to friends is getting pretty crowded. There is our local favorite, foursquare, which pioneered the act of “checking in”. And then there are giants like Facebook and Twitter, which let you record your location when you send a status update or tweet.
The folks at IAC have come up with a fairly brilliant end-run around all this. Their new app, Crowded Room, let’s people log a “might go”, the tantalizing precursor to the check-in. Not only do you not have to be at the actual location, but you “might go” to dozens of spots in one night without ever leaving your couch!
The notion behind the app, reports GigaOm’s Ryan Kim, is to help users connect with new people. You can scope out all the other folks who might be headed where you are tonight, and after drilling down into their profile and seeing something you like, you can use the Shortlist feature to let them know you “might” be interested in meeting up at one of those places you “might go” tonight. Oh, the anticipation!
The promo video IAC cooked up for this app is terrifying. Really attractive people shout lists of eccentric interests at you. “Japanese hair straightening. Hot yoga! Book making!” Is this what IAC thinks it’s like meeting people IRL? With Crowded Room, one really good looking woman talks to you in soothing tones about finding people like yourself at hip places full of like minded hotties.
In a way this app is a lot like Sonar, which tries to connect users with people they should meet when they check-in to venues. But Crowded Room seems to be more interested in building a profile and then encouraging you to go to certain places and meet certain people, almost like a very laid back dating app. It builds the profile using your Facebook, which is a smart way to seed the app with personal data.
What this app needs to succeed is a core group of really hip users in key cities. Otherwise it will just be another location based app consumers “might” use among a crowded field of much larger competitors. But on the business side, there is a clear path here. I let a venue know I might be interested in swinging by. They cross reference that with my Klout score and boom, I’m getting an offer for 50 percent off bottle service if I decide to pull the trigger on this check-in.