Starting the year with a smile:-)

Since mid 2010 I’ve been writing a book about Location Based Services (LBS) applied to the marketing practice. While many people exclusively associate Location Based Marketing (LBM) with check-ins applications, the uses of location in marketing goes far beyond that.
This weekend I began the chapter about check-ins. I wanted to open it exploring the motivation behind checking-in. Why are people sharing their location? Exploring this topic I had a little Fun with F words and this is a fine compilation of my notes.

The F* word

Marketers like to frame concepts in terms of numbers & letters, like the 3 R’s, the 4 P’s, the 4 C’s, or the 5 W’s of marketing.
Looking into check-in applications the first and most important F word is “FIND”, and the rest fit under this vast category. But leaving this at only one “F” is a facile job. I had to F.I.O. four or five main categories.

Location based marketing and the Five F’s of Check-ins

Why we check in - The Five F's of Check-ins


First and foremost many of the check-in based social networks are games. People participate for the fun of it. They fiddle around and compete to achieve virtual status, badges, stickers, pins and many other prizes.


Finding friends is another significant category. You check in to find-out the “fauna & flora” in your neighborhood. The idea is to facilitate fortuitous face to face encounters with folks and fellows, and filter your frenemies. Furthermore, this includes other activities like flirting and going footloose fooling around (only if you fit-in).


Are you a fan of a specific place? If so, you would like to feature this place in your comments, fostering and forming good opinions about it. Others will check-in to learn about favorite sites, and they might visit your preferred food place for your comments, doesn’t matter if it is frozen yogurt, french fries, falafel, fried fish, frappuccinos, or frosted flakes.


After the fun fades and you are tired of getting another flamboyant badge, and you find that looking for friends in a new city is a futile task, the FREEBIES are the reason that will keep you checking-in. You will check-in fishing for offers, fetching coupons and free stuff.


Following is my fifth category. And in this one I include following yourself (looking at your traveling history) and following others.

Final thoughts

Much needs to be fixed in the check-in apps. Some of the problems are the (lack of) fairness of the system, and the faux Check-ins. While those are not a felony, fraudulent check-ins detriment the real value of the community.

IMPORTANT: While I made this exercise for the FUN of it, the categories are for real (I’ll elaborate them in my book). This framework will allow marketers the use of check-in apps functionality efficiently. I hope it wasn’t a futile effort and that I pass your critique with flying colors. My fringe benefit is in your comments. I’ll appreciate your F-eedback.

Update Feb-2011

The 7 F’s of Check-in

Thanks for your comments on Twitter and emails.
Here are the last two F’ words that fits under “Why are people checking in”: 6- Fame 7- Flirt
And with that we have the 7 F’s of Checking in.
Updated graph

7 F's of checkin