Where 2.0 Conference 2011

Author: [ trailpeak ]   Contact Author: trailpeakThu Apr 28 11:03:23 EDT 2011

Trailpeak likes to keep tabs on location technology, after all, we were location enabled since 2001 and we love the location tools available on the internet. ... by Kurt Turchan, founder www.trailpeak.com.

In an age when travel is a big hassle, it's great to see conferences that buzz. Where 2.0 buzzes. It's on the cutting edge of location enabled social networks and all things location. Developers, founders, marketers, and as convener Brady Forest noted, "lots of new faces" were present. Matching mobile user location and context to business listings is a hot topic, but anthropologists, social network experts, VCs, and technologists in attendance made it interesting to say the least. Location is hot, whether that’s augmented reality, daily deals, or new forms of maps and map content. One thing was concluded, location is going mainstream. No product will be focused on location itself, rather location is now part of any credible web or mobile service. Facebook Deals, Google Places, Groupon mobile, and dozens of startups are creating social network add-ons that leverage location. Some are being snapped up, such as Ebay’s purchase of Where, which will be matched to PAYPAL and help you find what you want while on the move. Game Mechanics, serendipity, mobile, social context, intent, and advertising were hot topics overall as the long tail of business (listings) is on everyone’s roadmap.

I attended the Where 2.0 conference two years ago. In those days, I remember the debate on stage being about how tough it is to “check-in” when so few smartphones existed. Well that debate is a distant memory as Foursquare has now reached 10 million users. And the talk is now of devices checking you in automatically in the future. The check-in model is here, as Google and Facebook have now jumped into that game. Very few other conferences put the founders and industry stalwarts (ESRI) on stage together, in dialogue, then, keep you well into the evening with ignite talks and socials. Top it off with great lunches which are themselves serendipitous, and you’ve got a winning recipe for a conference.

The conference started out with a marketing bootcamp on Tuesday April 19th, 2011. This is a new addition and a welcome one. It was full house. Some great tips for startups from the marketing pros, from the latest means of gathering “signals” from consumers to how the online world can improve it’s stranger-stranger communication models online based on the social study of real life stranger interaction. The message is clear. Engage marketing experts and agencies early on, listen, and, build scalability (business scalability) into your business model from the get go. For techies, jumping into marketing talks can create more questions than answers. Techy founders often see marketing as the great unknown. If you listen however, your brain will take the messages marketing experts seem willing to provide more as a challenge. Like a non-hollywood movie ending, you'll chew on their tips and consumer challenges. Don't leave your marketing work too late. Think about befriending the marketing folks early on. I found Kio Stark’s talk on stranger-stranger interaction to be fascinating.

Another bootcamp theme was serendipity. Is serendipity dead? There seems to be arguments on both sides of the fence, the predominant view being that more serendipity is now enabled, even if the mystery of knowing who you will interact with is gone. Pure serendipity such as the peanut butter crashing into chocolate in the subway station may be dead, but, social networking based on proximity to others is just beginning. If you choose to participate, prepare to interact with others in ways never dreamed of before such as responding to a stranger’s question about the event you are attending. Serendipity is not dead, it’s only just begun and Scvngr, Bizzy, Foodspotting, Localmind, Wave, Color, Ditto, and Where may not be killing serendipity so much as enabling it.

The bootcamp focused heavily on mobile as did the entire conference. The #1 access method for local info is mobile browser with 20.7 million users per month in the US. More than 50% of mobile searches have local intent, 44% of local businesses have a web-site. 47% use cell phone or tablet to get local news and information. 11% have a mobile app to get local news. The stats kept coming, and they are impressive. These numbers are not lost on the big players. Google, Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, and eventually Groupon will or have enabled “checking-in” to a location. This goes straight to the heart of local advertising, local offers based on intent or location, and, the long tail of advertising. The new long tail is local business. To make local work, you need location. And that’s why this conference, in it’s 7th year, is so well attended. It’s provocative precisely because it finally marries online tools to the physical space we move in.

We’re used to the rich google analytics that webmasters get from Google, and now by claiming your places page, SMBs will get rich analytics from Google about their customers, offers, loyalty, daily deals, and so much more. .. Go to part II here ...




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