Facebook The 'Place' For Third-Party Couponing App

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Fan Appz CEO Jon Siegal believes the ability to check in and receive discounts will become as typical as clipping coupons, especially for Facebook's 500 million users. "We're in the real early days of location-based marketing," he says. "We're about supporting the platforms with the most activity such as Facebook and Twitter."

Fan Appz, a third-party application that allows brands to monitor check-ins through Facebook Places and deliver to consumers a variety of discounts and specials in the form of coupons, last month surpassed 100 million users across Facebook and Twitter. Facebook Fans who check in at a brand's location via Places become eligible for the discount or promotion through the Fan Appz tool, which is fully integrated with the social network.

Check in to Silicon Valley's Westfield Valley Fair shopping mall through the Facebook mobile application, for example, and Fan Appz collects all the information it needs to serve up a coupon or promotion to the consumer's mobile phone or computer.

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Consumers click on the Fan Appz's promotion application to participate. The app asks for permission to look at check-ins on Facebook. It unlocks the data that Fan Appz analyzes to determine whether the visiting consumer met the promotion's requirements. Fan Appz automatically verifies that the customer has met the criteria the brand puts in place, and unlocks the offer for the customer to print out or display the coupon during their next visit to the store or restaurant.

Restaurants can use the Fan Appz app to keep track of the times a consumer might visit a location and offer a free menu item to who checks in frequently through Facebook Places. Fan Appz verifies that the customer met the criteria and unlocks the offer for the customer to print out or display during their next visit.

Two in five mobile owners use location-aware services, according to eMarketer, as shown by a survey by security software company Webroot. The survey suggests that 39% of social network users who own a mobile Internet device use geolocation. The most popular activity is letting friends know their location, done by 19.2% of Webroot survey respondents at least daily. More than 15% of respondents reported checking in at locations at least daily.

The ability to geographically tag a location through Google Latitude, or check-in to a location through Foursquare and Gowalla, have become core tools for many products, making it no longer unique, Siegal says.

For the Fan Appz Facebook Places application, Siegal is banking on high adoption rates, as shown by a recent survey from Merchant Circle that suggests 16% of merchants are familiar with Foursquare, of which only 32% who are aware of the tool use it to promote their business.

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