Friday, April 23, 2010

"Geofencing" will be huge...And annoying

BlackBerry PearlImage by Santosh Dawara via Flickr
Read/Write/Web has an article on "Geofencing".

Having just left a startup that is a tad behind this technology, I found it interesting.

Here is the basic concept: You're walking around and you pass within 300 feet of a sports supply store and you get a text message or buzz from an app alerting you to deals at the store because you told someone, somewhere that you were sports.

The possibilities are huge.

For example, I'll only buy Clif's Builder Bars when they are on sale at Ralph's. But most of the time, I have to go into Ralph's just to see if they're on sale.

On the other hand, I ride my bike by Ralph's almost everyday. If I could get pinged on my way by, I'd definitely stop in.

Now, the annoying part.

The preferences have to be narrow enough to not be spam and broad enough that you actually get updates. That's hard.

The search has to be good enough to match your preferences. That's hard.

The alerts have to be helpful enough to not be spam. That's hard.

So, brace yourself, early adopters. There is a new kind of spam headed your way. But persevere and you could make your life better.

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