Home  › Social › Social Media
joshwilliams

Gowalla CEO: We Never Aimed to Be Like Foursquare

  |  September 13, 2011   |  Comments

Geo-social app reboots to get back to its original vision.

joshwilliams

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."

Tags:

ClickZ Live Chicago 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, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Heine

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.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

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.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...