Geo-social app lets consumers request discounts, but businesses have veto power.
Loopt hopes to gain more traction among consumers and local businesses alike by allowing the former to request deals from the latter. The geo-social app today introduced its u-Deals feature, where users can select a restaurant or retailer, pick a discount amount, add a photo, and have Loopt give it a review. If it passes muster, the user then is charged with corralling nearby friends to sign up for the deal.
At that point, it's up to the local business to grant the request. If it's a go, Loopt will alert the consumers via its app and email that the deal can be redeemed. The Mountain View, CA-based company has partnered with the group-buying platform, ChompOn, to enable the program.
The u-Deals initiative is live in San Francisco, and the geo-social firm says it will roll out to additional markets in the coming months. Virgin America approved the first deal late this afternoon, as the airlines company has committed to selling 500 vouchers. Here's the deal: $100-for-$35 (65 percent off) that's good for flight tickets involving San Francisco International Airport.
While Loopt's move further underscores a growing convergence of the geo-social and deals spaces, it also brings to mind the reality that it's unlikely that all of these players can last. Competitor Whrrl called it quits in April, as Groupon purchased its technology and brought some of its executive talent in-house.
And the check-ins mobile app space is only becoming more competitive as Facebook Places takes hold and Foursquare grows. Other mobile deals players vying for consumer attention include Groupon, LivingSocial, Scvngr, Gowalla, and ScoutMob, while smaller online deals players like KGB Deals and BuyWithMe will almost certainly launch iPhone/Android apps of their own.
Loopt doesn't discuss funding, spokesperson Sharon Howell told ClickZ News, while adding the geo-social company has five million users. Its last reported round of funding totaled $12 million from New Enterprise Associates and Sequoia Capital in July 2007. According to the company's jobs board, Loopt is currently looking to fill 10 technology and marketing positions.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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