Geo-social app reboots to get back to its original vision.
Gowalla's new app is not designed to sidestep rival Foursquare. Instead, it's about getting Gowalla back to its roots, CEO Josh Williams says, challenging a popular blogosphere narrative from the past 24 hours that suggested his company had thrown up the proverbial white flag. Gowalla claims 2 million users, while Foursquare says it has more than 10 million.
"We were never aiming to put up the type of check-in numbers the guys at Foursquare have," he said in an interview with ClickZ News. "I think they are going to continue to innovate in that space. But for us, we are much more comfortable building in this direction. I feel like it's a lot closer to what our original vision [was]."
On Monday, Williams told a TechCrunch Disrupt audience that his company's geo-social app was being overhauled, adding city guides for 60 markets worldwide, travel-oriented info, and more user-generated content. A lot of punditry followed that the CEO didn't exactly agree with.
"From what I've read, people have said this [development represents] Gowalla losing the check-in war," he said. "And I'm really OK with that because I feel that's something we were never striving to go after to begin with. Gowalla has always been about sharing high-level experience like, 'Hey, I took this trip.' Or, 'Hey, I had this great night out with a bunch of friends at the concert.' And much less about the transactional check-in like, 'I'm at Starbucks again.'"
Williams said the new app would premiere "in a matter of days" and referred to it as a "social atlas." He explained, "Whether you are going to San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Europe for the weekend, you can quickly see, 'Hey, where have my friends been? What do the locals like to go? Where can I grab a burger? What does the expert food blogger I follow say about the place?' To be able to get those recommendations and ideas on the fly is pretty powerful."
Travel and hospitality brands, in particular, will have targeted advertising opportunities on the new version of the app, he said. He hinted that sponsored search results were in the works.
"Whether it is search per se or suggested recommendations," he said, "that's definitely a place where we're going."
The CEO also commented on how geo-social apps and daily deals platforms were converging. "I think you are going to see a continued blurring of the lines when it comes to traditional check-ins and the social deals space," he said. "There's certainly a business model there. It's just not necessarily the one we are looking to service at this point."
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!
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.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
September 30, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT
October 23, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT