User-generated advertising

ecently I've become a regular user of Gowalla, a location based social networking app which allows you to tell friends where you are via Twitter and Facebook.

Using the iPhone GPS, it finds your location and provides you with all the information it has on businesses and attractions (called ÒspotsÓ) around you, allowing you to Òcheck-inÓ when you visit them. You can also create new spots yourself, encouraging the growth of information available in the places you visit.

As I spend most of my week here in Dean Clough and other places in Halifax, there are a number of places I check-in more often than others. A few weeks ago, while picking up lunch for the Connected crew at a local cafe, I pulled out my iPhone and checked-in. It then occurred to me that the cafe staff probably had no idea that I was promoting their business as they were serving me. This was live user-generated advertising.

As the social web gains more momentum, this type of service could shift the way advertising and promotion is approached. We've already seen a big take up of all business types using Facebook and Twitter to promote their businesses, throwing in live location based data could make things very interesting.

Originally published for Connected UK