Update: ClickZ was originally informed by Scvngr on Nov. 8 that its local business rewards platform would use a paid model. After this story was published, Scvngr told ClickZ that the paid model was discontinued five weeks ago for a completely free platform.
More than 50 New York City businesses – all but one in the borough of Manhattan – are now offering rewards via Scvngr. For location-based marketing efforts, restaurants, bars, clothing retailers, etc. typically reward check-ins by giving them a free item or a percentage discount.
What potentially separates Scvngr’s location-based model from other geo-social platforms is that the businesses get armed with Scvngr-branded marketing embellishments, such as QR code stickers, beverage coasters, table tents, and in-store signage. For time-strapped small businesses, getting ready-made marketing materials to help promote check-ins could make the platform more attractive than its competitors.
Scvngr launched its rewards program on Aug. 31 in Boston, and – in addition to New York – has since opened shop in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Meanwhile, it will be intriguing to watch companies like the Boston-based Scvngr continue to try to grow their platforms as Facebook’s recently launched “Deals” platform gains a foothold with the site’s 500 million users.
For instance on Oct. 26, Gowalla announced a “Stamp Calendar” for New York, San Francisco, and Austin, TX. Each city’s calendar offers one marketing slot per day that starts at $5 for the first day and increases $5 in cost each day thereafter. The program will launch on Jan. 1 and is expected to roll out nationwide during 2011.
So far, the whole month of January has been sold for Austin, TX. At the same time, New York and San Francisco’s calendars have almost sold their first two weeks.
And that leaves Foursquare, which had to take notice today with Scvngr’s expansion. Foursquare has a strong New York City audience and – like Scvngr and Facebook Places – does not charge businesses to run specials on its platform. In August, it topped three million registered users.