Loopt Expands Radius Of Local Offers, Adds Steve Madden

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Social location startup Loopt in June launched a new app called Loopt Star that allowed users to become the "boss" of favorite locations after racking up enough check-ins a la Foursquare's "mayor" badges. The app also rewarded check-ins with discounts and special offers from participating marketers including The Gap, Burger King, Universal Music Group and Starbucks.

To expand the program geographically, Loopt has added a feature that allows retailers to extend the range of local offers they can show to up to 20 miles. The "Rewards Nearby" feature appears in the app's check-in tab, and enables marketers to show deals within a one-, five-, 10-, 15- or 20-mile radius.

Along with the new capability, Loopt announced shoe retailer Steve Madden as a new partner. Users who check into any of the company's 66 stores nationwide can get a 20% discount on any purchase of $50 or more through the end of September.

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"So, imagine this: As you're leaving work, you stop by the grocery store on your way home. You pull out your iPhone while waiting in the checkout line, and Check In on Loopt Star. "What's this? 20% off shoes 3 miles away? Umm, yeah! That's worth the trip. Steve Madden: here I come!" states a post on the Loopt blog Friday discussing its latest moves.

The extension of offers beyond a limited area seem especially geared to chain stores like Steve Madden or The Gap that may be able to entice users with coupons or deals worth driving a distance to redeem. "It's a great way to help people plan their citywide journey's so they can pick up on deals taking place along the way," said Loopt spokesman Paul Loeffler.

In addition to the total number of visits, the Loopt app also allows companies to reward customers for other actions such as certain number of check-ins, or check-ins at certain locations or times of day. Universal Music Group has a promotion, for instance, that allows Loopt uses who check in at participating bars to get a link for free music from artists including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Mos Def and others.

Still, the Loopt Star app doesn't seem to be meeting the competition, at least as far as App Store appraisals go. It has earned a rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars in the App based on 6,209 ratings. iPhone apps from rivals Gowalla and Foursquare each drew three-star ratings based on 10,356 and 25,330 user responses, respectively.

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