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Gowalla Relaunches and Repositions at TechCrunch Disrupt
Posted By Howard Greenstein On September 13, 2011 @ 10:21 am In Blogging and Social Media,Internet and Online Business | 1 Comment
Yesterday Gowalla  co-founder and CEO Josh Williams took the TechCrunch Disrupt  stage to say Gowalla is dead, long live the new Gowalla. The company, whose iOS and Android apps have allowed checkins since 2009, has ceded that space to Foursquare . And, as Williams told me in an interview after his appearance, his team was never really interested in owning that space.
“We originally wanted to build a more social “Lonely Planet” type-guide,” said Williams. With this new re-launch, Gowalla’s apps and web experience become much more of that city-guide resource, with a re-make that emphasizes the features that their customers were using the most. A few months ago the team took a blank slate approach and thought about “How do we take the data we’ve already got and bubble it up in a way that’s more useful?”
Wiliams told me “If a group went for dinner, each person would pull out their phone, do a check-in, and we’d have 6 individual transactions. Now we allow you to go to dinner, add people you’re with, and all photos and recommendations uploaded by that group are a shared “story.” The stories can be pushed to Facebook, Twitter, or even Foursquare, and they fuel the city guides. They also make it easy for the group to access and enjoy the media after an event.
Very relevant to small businesses, the guides are available to anyone using the Gowalla app, even if they don’t have an account. Users only need to log in to share. “In the future we see ourselves as a platform for venues, hotels or others in travel industry, providing property owners a way to get analytics and be able to manage their listings.” Businesses can already claim their listings from Gowalla’s extensive place database for free via the company’s website. Customizing a business listing and branding costs a few hundred dollars for now.
Guides are available for about 60 cities around the world, and there are featured guides about U.S. National Parks from National Geographic, the U.S. Disney theme parks created by Disney, and a host of university-curated campus and town guides.
Gowalla makes money with these branded guides, as well as specifically created guides for events (like the one created for Disrupt this week.) Williams noted that the guides work by having popular content bubbling to the top. People can click “love” for venues just like a Facebook “like,” and the places with the most love, most photos and most stories will show more prominently in city guides. So business owners have an incentive to encourage patrons to review, “love” and photograph their venues.
There are lots of apps in the travel guide business, and whether Gowalla has created the ultimate one remains to be seen. But this pivot, based on their existing user base and the content already created by them, seems like a move in a better direction.
Watch today’s live stream of TechCrunch Disrupt .
Article printed from Inc. Technology: http://technology.inc.com
URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2011/09/13/gowalla-relaunches-and-repositions-at-techcrunch-disrupt/
URLs in this post:
 Gowalla: http://gowalla.com
 TechCrunch Disrupt: http://disrupt.techcrunch.com/SF2011
 Foursquare: http://foursquare.com
 TechCrunch Disrupt: http://techcrunch.com/disrupt/
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