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August 13 2012

Google Acquires Travel Guide Publisher Frommer’s

Google has acquired travel guidebook publisher Frommer's from John Wiley & Sons for an undisclosed amount, a Google spokesperson has confirmed.

"The Frommer's team and the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat team," the spokesperson said. "We can’t wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world.”

Wiley has been publicly seeking a buyer for Frommer's since early March.

Google will likely integrate Frommer's reviews of hotels and destinations in the same way that it has baked Zagat's reviews of restaurants into its search and Maps products. That way, when consumers are seeking out p…
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More About: Google, frommer's, zagat

January 12 2012

Foursquare Brings Explore Tab to Desktops

Foursquare is bolstering its non-mobile presence by migrating its “Explore” feature to desktops.

The tab, which was added to Foursquare.com on Wednesday, harnesses the site’s database of all the 1.5 billion checkins logged into its system. Explore was originally introduced as part of Foursquare 3.0 last March. The tab supplanted Tips and let users query for recommendations or dive into food, coffee, nightlife, shops and arts and entertainment recommendations served up by Foursquare and ranked by what’s most interesting to the user. At the time, the company positioned Explore as a real-world counterpart to recommendations on Amazon and Netflix.

Alex Rainert, head of product for Foursquare, says the desktop version of Explore is geared toward people who are planning to take a trip, but also for the average Foursquare user, who still spends a lot of time on his PC. (Foursquare’s website gets 1 million unique visitors a day, supporting Rainert’s argument.) Rainert says he personally has used the desktop Explore to find a sushi restaurant in his neighborhood. “I was looking for one I haven’t tried, but I was looking for social validation,” he says.

Foursquare has lots of competition for the web-based local recommendations from Yelp and Google, which bought Zagat in August. Foursquare has a tangled history with Google. The company acquired early location-based social networking service Dodgeball in 2005, only to eventually shut it down and see founder Dennis Crowley leave to start Foursquare. Yet the addition of Explore on desktops is less about competing with those rivals than offering a multimedia experience for Foursquare users.

If you’re looking for another free desktop recommendation engine, Explore isn’t bad. To try it out, I typed “burritos” and “gyros” into the system and Explore produced a few locales. If you use the “zoom out” feature, you’ll see even more. However, Explore has far fewer reviews than Yelp in most cases.

What do you think? Will you check out Explore on your PC or do you still consider Foursquare just for mobile? Let us know.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, arakonyunus

More About: foursquare, Google, yelp, zagat

January 10 2012

Google Maps Game for Google+ Revealed in Video

Google has quietly released a promotional video for a Google Maps-driven game for Google+ Games. In the video, Google pimps a “Play your world, like never before” slogan and a link to “Start here,” which leads to entertaining demos on how to use Google Maps.

The game comes out next month and appears similar to On the Ball, Marble Madness and Rolling Madness 3D — all games in which a player navigates a ball through courses. We also noticed in the teaser video that players will likely earn points for rolling over Zagat-rated venues. Google acquired local reviews giant Zagat in September.

The Maps team developed the game for the Google+ Games platform, which went live Aug. 11. The game runs on WebGL, a technology that creates 3D web graphics viewers can see without installing extra software.

When Google bought Zagat in 2011, Google’s Marissa Mayer said, “Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering — delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.”

This effort could be a new way to push the popular Zagat Ratings further into the spotlight using gamification.

SEE ALSO: Man Uses Google+ Game to Propose to Girlfriend [VIDEO]

What are your predictions for this game? Sound off in the comments.

Using Google+? Add Mashable to your circles. You’ll get the latest about new Google+ features and tips and tricks for using the platform as well as top social media and technology news.

More About: gamification, Gaming, Google, Google Maps, zagat

September 08 2011

Google Acquires Zagat

Google has placed one of its biggest bets on location to-date, acquiring local reviews giant Zagat.

Writing on the company’s official blog, Google VP Local, Maps and Location Services Marissa Mayer says that, “Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.”

Zagat is far cry from the startups you typically talk about in the location space. The company was founded 32 years ago and started as a printed guide to restaurants, with “Zagat Ratings” becoming an industry standard. In more recent times, however, Zagat has reinvented itself on the web and with mobile apps, bringing it into competition with the likes of Foursquare and Yelp.

Location has been a tough nut for Google to crack. The company acquired early location-based social networking service Dodgeball in 2005, only to eventually shut it down and see founder Dennis Crowley leave to start Foursquare. More recent attempts include Latitude, a largely forgotten Foursquare competitor, and Hotpot, a recommendation engine that’s baked into Google Places. The company also appointed Mayer, one of its most prominent executives, to lead its location efforts in late 2010.

More to come …

More About: Google, zagat

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June 14 2011

Consmr Aims To Be the Yelp for Supermarket Goods

A new site is hoping to become the Yelp or Rotten Tomatoes of supermarket products.

Consmr, which launched Tuesday, ranks consumer-packaged goods based on reviews from consumers, bloggers and a couple of editorial publications. Ryan Charles, the founder of Consmr — who previously served as head of mobile, interactive products and marketing at Zagat — says although there’s no mobile Consmr app yet, he envisions consumers accessing the information in-store to make informed purchases.

A recent survey by consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail supports his vision. The report found that one-fifth of consumers research food and beverage purchases, nearly one-third research pet products and 39% look up information on baby products.

Charles has added a gamification layer in an attempt to make sure the page is loaded with information. The site offers Foursquare-like badges (called “Pieces of Flair” as seen in the movie Office Space) for amassing followers and submitting reviews.

The badges are also a form of advertising. Consumers who review or try certain products will get branded badges when they check in. The checkins appear on their Facebook and Twitter feeds. The site currently has two advertisers: Greek yogurt brand Chobani and beverage brand AriZona.

In addition, some reviewers like Dubba — who writes the ice cream blog On Second Scoop — are already known in the blogosphere. The site also includes product reviews from Rodale publications Men’s Health and Women’s Health.

Charles acknowledges that sites like Amazon also have some reviews of CPG products, but he says he feels in general the market is underserved. “The issue with consumer packaged goods is there’s some information online, but it’s fragmented,” Charles says. “They’ll have reviews of Fage, but none for Chobani. This is a way of tackling this.”

More About: Consmr, CPG, rotten tomatoes, yelp, zagat

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February 16 2011

Startup Dinevore Serves Up Restaurant Recommendations From Sources You Trust

Instead of focusing on crowdsourced reviews, as most social restaurant sites do, Dinevore wants to help people find recommendations from sources that they trust.

“No one has ever called a friend and asked for a restaurant review,” says founder Jeremy Fisher. “It’s not a natural behavior. But pretty much everyone’s made a restaurant recommendation… it’s an activity that lots of people are doing without any external incentives.”

Dinevore users create lists of restaurants that they have been to or want to eat at, such as “The Best Pizza in New York” or “My Favorites.”

Other users can follow these lists. When they do so, all of the restaurants on it are displayed in a personal recommendation feed. Following users works the same way. Each personal feed is automatically organized by proximity to its owner’s current location, but it can also be organized by most listed or highest rated and be filtered by neighborhood, cuisine, and price range.

The startup’s approach to recommendations contrasts with that of Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Zagat, which allow users to search and rate local restaurants, but don’t account for their personal tastes.

“I’m personally pretty discriminating when it comes to recommendations,” explains founder Jeremy Fisher. “I have a couple friends that I really trust, and I also like to get recommendations from New York Magazine, The Times and Serious Eats. If that’s the signal I want, Dinevore makes it really easy to tune into that signal without any noise. It’s equally easy for someone who doesn’t relate to professional critics to tune those critics out.”

Dinevore’s list format allows users to choose which recommendations to take seriously based upon the recommender’s dining history. If someone’s profile constantly lists burger joints, and you love burgers, you might want to follow that person. But if a user consistently lists fine cuisine, you might opt against following that person. The format also makes Dinevore an appealing platform for publications and food critics. New York Magazine, Village Voice, and The New York Times have already started posting restaurant lists on the site. Andrew Knowlton, the restaurant editor at Bon Appetit Magazine has listed more than 500 restaurants.

“Its a good way to get a little more exposure for content that our critics work really hard on,” explains Jenny Miller, an assistant editor at New York Magazine‘s food blog, Grub Street. “Those lists can live on, they’re not just published once and forgotten. It’s nice that they have a place where they can continue to provide a service.”

Users can keep track of which restaurants they’ve eaten at on a list of recommendations, using Dinevore instead of printing out a page from the NY Mag website and pinning it to a bulletin board or creating an excel document. Soon, they’ll be able to do so using unofficial Android and iOS apps being developed with Dinevore’s API.

The easy (and soon to be mobile) access Dinevore gives to short recommendations from both friends and experts reminds us a lot of Twitter. We’ll admit that the idea of foodies spending a ton of their time creating recommendation lists is a tad unbelievable — but no more so than Yelp’s idea that people might spend time writing restaurant reviews. And look how that turned out.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, aldra

More About: Dinevore, Food, Recommendations, reviews, startup, yelp, zagat

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December 09 2010

Twitter Places API Gains New Data Partners

Twitter has just expanded and enhanced the location layer of its API.

The changes will make it easier for developers to interface with various datasets and offer better location-based experiences within their apps.

When Twitter Places launched back in June, it was clear that with the right implementations, the implications of a geo-aware Twitter could be vast.

Over the course of the last six months however, the location layer within tweets really hasn’t been used beyond the official apps and a smattering of services. Location-based networks such as Foursquare and Gowalla could associate a check-in tweet with Twitter Places; but for external apps, surfacing this data hasn’t really been possible.

As Developer Advocate Matt Harris posted to the Twitter API Announcements Google Group, that may soon change.

Twitter now has more extensive information for finding tweets about places using the place operator in the Search API.

Here’s the interesting part: This operator isn’t limited just to the Twitter Places data set. Rather, developers can also call up data sets from a variety of partners, including A&E Television Networks and History, Gowalla, OpenTable, TomTom, Yellow Pages Group (Canada) and Zagat.

This means developers, using the data set alias for any of these providers, can access search information about a specific location.

Where this really has immediate potential is with developers who are already interacting with one of the partner data sets. For instance, if your web app already plugs into OpenTable to offer restaurant information, you can now easily add recent tweets from that location to your app.

Interestingly, two of the biggest data sets, Facebook Places and Foursquare, are not on Twitter’s partner list. Facebook we can understand; Facebook Places is very much a mobile offering at this point in time. Foursquare’s omission is less clear. Foursquare data can still be mapped to Twitter Places when a checkin is tweeted by Foursquare, so we don’t understand the omission of the data set on the other end.

Perhaps the rumored upcoming Foursquare API extension will answer some of these questions.

[via WebProNews]

More About: api, geolocation, Geolocation API, gowalla, location, Twitter API, twitter places, zagat

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November 09 2010

Zagat Launches Interactive Food Truck Finder

This year, influential foodie guide Zagat added food carts to its list of must-go eateries. Today the guide made finding said trucks easier with the launch of Zagat Food Trucks, a web app that lets you pinpoint the locations of all your favorite fast food.

The map, which was created by creative interactive agency JESS3 and announced on Zagat’s blog today, allows hungry folks to see all the trucks in their vicinity, complete with reviews, ratings and exact location. One can also drill down by cuisine and sort by ratings, as well as rate and review trucks.

Trucks will also be able to make their wandering whereabouts known by tweeting their locations to @ZagatTrucks, which automatically updates the app. While there’s no mobile app version of this service, users can follow the action on their mobile browsers.

The tool isn’t yet complete (which is natural, considering it’s in beta). While I could find a bevy of trucks around Mashable HQ, a search for mobile eateries around the Bedford area of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (a.k.a. home of tacos trucks and ice cream mobiles galore), came up cold. The service is also currently New York-only. Still, Zagat has informed us that more than 50 trucks will be added by the end of the year, and diners can also suggest new trucks by e-mailing zagattrucks@zagat.com.

Zagat Food Truck isn’t the only mobile food finder in the location realm — Cartspotting (from the folks at Foodspotting) offers a pretty handy cart-finder as well.

More About: Food, Mobile 2.0, social media, twitter, zagat

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September 16 2010

Zagat Offers Group Buying Deals at New York Restaurants

Restaurant ratings and reviews service Zagat Survey has launched Zagat Exclusives, a new group-buying program that offers regularly discounted meals at Zagat-Rated restaurants, in New York City.

Everyone from casual diners to self-proclaimed “foodies” can sign up to have deals delivered straight to their inboxes, which will be available for purchase over a short period of time.

The first deal in the program, which is powered and hosted by Groupon competitor DealOn, offers consumers $30 off a three-course meal at former speakeasy “21″ Club. The restaurant has a “very good to excellent” rating for food, decor and service from Zagat.

Although Zagat Exclusives is currently only available to New York City residents, the service should shortly roll out to other major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles Philadelphia and San Francisco.

What makes Zagat Exclusives different from Yelp Daily Deals and OpenTable Spotlight, both of which began offering daily discounts on meals and other edible goods this summer, is that the deal gets better as more people buy in. Although you may originally agree to pay $69 for today’s deal at “21″ Club, you may end up paying less than that if the offer is popular enough (at the time of writing, the price has dropped to $59). The company is also hoping the caliber of its ratings service will make people more comfortable purchasing its offerings over, say, a mystery restaurant from OpenTable or a consumer-reviewed venue from Yelp.

Which company do you think has the best group-buying program?

Image courtesy of Geoff Peters 604

More About: dealon, group buying, groupon, opentable, opentable spotlight, yelp, yelp daily deals, zagat, zagat exclusives, zagat survey

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September 04 2010

5 New Ways Small Business Can Offer Location-Based Deals

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Location-based services, such as Foursquare and Gowalla, are proving quite popular with consumers open to sharing their locations with the world. They’re also built to be inherently business-friendly, as most allow retailers to incentivize checkins and social sharing behaviors in the hopes of attracting swarms of patrons to their businesses.

As the space continues to evolve, new platforms, technologies and services are emerging with the specific intention of helping small businesses reward their loyal patrons with deals for their in-store behaviors.

Small businesses looking for fresh and relevant ways to serve up location-based deals and stay ahead of the curve have numerous options. The following examples highlight how small businesses can leverage verified checkins, barcode scanning technology, group buying initiatives, activity-based rewards, and opt-in lists for innovative and mobile-friendly location-based deals.

1. Verified Checkin Rewards

Most checkin apps are designed so that small businesses can set up specials or rewards for checkin activity. Few, however, can truly verify that an application user is exactly where they say they are. For the small business owner to truly benefit from offering checkin rewards, verification is critical.

SCVNGR is an example of a location-sharing service built with verification in mind. The startup, which seeks to serve as a game layer for the real world, has a QR code checkin feature; businesses can display QR code decals to encourage patrons to pull out their mobile phones and scan the QR code to check in to their venues. Since the scan is tied to a specific location, the checkin is valid.

In general, QR codes present a clean way to tie a customer’s whereabouts to a physical location. Small businesses can choose to chuck the checkin app in favor of creating their own in-store QR code marketing initiatives — think scan-activated coupon codes or discounts — with the help of full-service QR code solutions such as ScanLife.

2. Social Barcodes

Small businesses sell products. Products have barcodes. New technology makes it easier than ever for consumers to create social experiences around products, and for retailers to reward them for their in-store scanning behaviors.

Bakodo is an iPhone app that can scan nearly all types of barcodes; consumers can use it to comparison shop, read reviews from friends, and make more informed purchase decisions. Stickybits has a mobile app that lets users create a social experience around products with photos, text, and videos. Even Shopkick, an automatic checkin service for retailers, has an iPhone app that supports barcode scanning activities.

As barcodes become more social in nature, small businesses have an opportunity to participate in product-driven communities and even reward consumers who scan in their stores. With Bakodo, for instance, small businesses can license a white label version of the technology to reward customers with discounts and coupons depending on what they scan.

3. Group Deals

Those following the group buying trend have no doubt noticed the growing buzz around Groupon and its many competitors. These deal-a-day sites allow small and local businesses to offer extreme discounts to new audiences. The formula has proven to appeal to customers looking for a deal, bring in new business, and create repeat business.

Interested small businesses can turn to services such as Groupon, LivingSocial, OpenTable, Yelp, or Zagat to help them facilitate a location-based deal. Better yet, there’s now a handful of do-it-yourself, deal-a-day software options. With Wildfire, for instance, businesses can offer their own group deals via their website or Facebook Page.

Another new option perfect for neighborhood bars, restaurants and coffee shops is GroupTabs. The service blends group buying with checkins, so that when a certain number of people check-in at the same place at the same time, they can unlock a pre-defined venue deal or special. GroupTabs is brand new and available in limited markets, but it hopes to expand and is accepting business requests via email.

4. Challenge-Based Rewards

In addition to QR code checkins, the mobile location-based game SCVNGR now enables any retailer to offer custom rewards to patrons who accrue points for specific behaviors — checking in, posting a photo, or completing a user-defined challenge — at their store.

The rewards platform is more flexible than those offered by Foursquare and Gowalla, and allows small businesses to decide how many rewards to offer, how many points customers need to unlock a reward, and how many times the reward in question can be redeemed. Patrons can also only attempt one reward at a time and can visually track their progress via a green status bar.

SCVNGR also sends out signage, QR code decals, table tents, and coasters to participating businesses free of charge to help facilitate the in-store behaviors. As such, the platform is perfect for small businesses looking to offer their own location-based deals.

5. Opt-in Deals

New startup Bizzy is designed to be the go-between for small businesses interested in distribution for their hyper-local deals and residents hungry for deals in their neighborhood. The service is designed with the intention of eliminating the clutter of traditional e-mail marketing campaigns by presenting deals and offers only to interested parties on their own terms.

Because Bizzy is opt-in for businesses and shoppers, it creates an ideal platform where local businesses can list deals that consumers want to find. Members can use the service to create their Bizzy List — a list of businesses they want to hear from — for a daily stream of related events and offers. Bizzy business members can create, manage, and track their deals, as well as personally engage with shoppers and build better opt-in lists.

Bizzy is accessible to consumers on the web, or via its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch applications. Bizzy’s only downside is that it’s currently a beta service only available in Dallas, New York and San Francisco.

As location-based marketing continues to grow, there are more and more ways that small businesses can offer location-specific deals. Verified checkins, barcode scanning technology, group buying initiatives, activity-based rewards, and opt-in lists are just five new ways that small businesses can leverage location-based marketing for innovative and mobile-friendly location-based deals. Let us know how your small business is offering location-based deals in the comments below.

More Business Resources from Mashable:

- 5 Small Biz Web Design Trends to Watch
- Why Social Media Monitoring Tools Are About to Get Smarter
- Why the Social Gaming Biz is Just Heating Up
- The Future of Public Relations and Social Media
- HOW TO: Pick the Right Social Media Engagement Style

[img credits: Joseph Robertson, High Museum of Art]

More About: bakodo, bizzy, checkins, foursquare, gowalla, groupon, grouptabs, LivingSocial, MARKETING, opentable, qr code, QR Codes, rewards, scanlife, scvngr, shopkick, small business, stickybits, yelp, zagat

For more Business coverage:

August 24 2010

Top 5 Ways Big Brands are Using Foursquare

This series is supported by The Awareness Social Marketing Hub, a leading enterprise-grade application for marketers struggling with the social media chaos of managing multiple social channels. Click here to learn more.

Foursquare LogoUnlike other more mainstream social networks, the business potential of Foursquare may not be immediately apparent. At present, the location-based network is less about conversations and resource sharing, and more about tying your social activities to physical places.

For brick-and-mortar businesses, a Foursquare strategy makes a lot of sense. But what about brand promotion in general, say in the entertainment or publishing worlds? With Foursquare, it’s not about linking users back to your site or products, but creating a new location-based product that has value for fans and followers. Here’s how five big brands are attempting to connect location to their online social presences.

1. Recommendations with Personality: Bravo

Bravo on Foursquare Image

In the television industry, Bravo was one of the first networks to get on board with Foursquare, and 50,000 of its fans have followed so far. The network’s programming is a mix of food, fashion, and reality drama, and the TV personalities and hosts that viewers love are the ones making recommendations on Foursquare.

Restaurant, shopping, and hotel suggestions reinforce Bravo’s image as a network of culture experts, and the personalities who leave tips through the brand add that bit of personal flavor or sass that draws viewers to the shows in the first place. Fans don’t follow for Bravo per se; they’re following to see where Top Chefs and Millionaire Matchmakers spend their time in New York and LA.

2. Restaurant Reviews: Zagat

Zagat on Foursquare Image

If there was ever a brand made for Foursquare, Zagat is it. The 30+ year-old publication is the go-to guide for restaurant and hotel reviews, and their embrace of numerous social media channels is noteworthy.

Zagat uses Foursquare the way many individual users do — by leaving food-related tips about locations. And Zagat is not city-specific. You’ll find foodie tips from Los Angeles, to New York, to Cambridge, MA.

Zagat’s Foursquare account is an obvious way to reinforce everything the brand is known for, and perhaps tap into a new demographic of diners who may be reluctant to carry around a paperback guide in addition to their smartphones.

3. Celebrity Sway: MTV

MTV on Foursquare Image

While we may not yet live in a world where celebrities want fans to know their locations in real-time, filtering their favorite places through an over-arching brand is a good start.

Fans can keep tabs on the favorite haunts of stars from Jersey Shore and The Hills, driving the social connection to these personalities beyond the TV and into The Real World (pun intended).

Not only can users see where the stars have been, but what they did, enjoyed, and recommend. And there’s always the possibility that visiting a bar frequented by a celeb increases your chances of meeting him or her. That aspect is certainly part of MTV’s Foursquare appeal.

4. Urban Exploration: New York Magazine

New York Magazine on Foursquare Image

New York Magazine uses Foursquare to drive home its coverage of city-specific culture. This account is about much more than just food. It targets the social New Yorker with tips on retail stores, bars, and public spaces.

The tips not only offer details on pricing and goings-on, but provide links back to the magazine’s website for deeper coverage. In this regard, New York Magazines’ approach to Foursquare is akin to the Twitter strategy of many publishers, with the added value of location.

5. Edutainment: The History Channel

History Channel on Foursquare Image

Staff at The History Channel know what their viewers are into — it’s fairly obvious, given the namesake. So while Foursquare doesn’t offer much in terms of driving traffic to a program or website, locations are fostering an interesting kind of brand engagement here.

The account leaves tips at various sites, including interesting historical background on the locations. It’s trivia, but with a real-world and educational context. For instance, did you know that the Wabasha Street Caves in St. Paul, MN are man-made sandstone mines that date back to the 1840s, and were opened as a restaurant and night club in the 1920s?

This is a clever use of indirect marketing. The History Channel doesn’t have to promote its shows or link back to content to remind fans why they enjoy the programming. More than 47,000 followers are already enjoying the historical tips left by the account, since its launch in April.


The trouble with emerging networks like Foursquare is that users and big brands alike are having difficulty sticking with it. In all of the examples above, you can see that brand representatives jumped into the checkin game with vigor early on, but eventually updated the accounts less and less — some have not added tips for months.

For now, location services are still an ancillary part of many social media strategies, but they won’t be forever. Many predict that when cultural acceptance, mainstream social integration, and business value finally coincide, location sharing will be as common and natural as updating your Facebook status.

When it happens, will your brand be ready?

Series supported by Awareness

Awareness builds social marketing software for marketers leveraging multiple social channels to engage with customers, build their brand, and increase revenues. Built upon Awareness’ expertise deploying more than 200 communities and social media projects for the world’s biggest brands including Sony, JetBlue, Kodak, ASOS.com and AIRMiles, The Awareness Social Marketing Hub is a leading enterprise-grade application for marketers struggling with the social media chaos of managing multiple social channels. With the Awareness Social Marketing Hub, marketers are now able to publish, manage and measure across all their social channels from one central location using advanced built-in permissioning, workflow and audit controls.

More Location Resources from Mashable:

- Why Location-Based Social Media Needs to Get “Passive” Aggressive
- Top 16 Unusual Foursquare Badges
- Why QR Codes Are Poised to Hit the Mainstream
- Beyond the Checkin: Where Location-Based Social Networks Should Go Next
- 5 Cool Non-Profit Uses of Location-Based Tech

Reviews: Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter

More About: brand, brands, bravo, business, foursquare, history channel, List, Lists, location, location-based, MARKETING, Mobile 2.0, mtv, small business, social media, social media for business leaders series, social media marketing, zagat

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August 18 2010

Zagat for iPhone Adds Foursquare Checkins and Foodspotting Photos

Restaurant ratings and reviews service Zagat today released a new version of its $9.99 iPhone app, Zagat To Go, complete with Foursquare and Foodspotting integration.

Users can now check in to restaurants via Zagat’s app [iTunes link], rather than Foursquare’s — a somewhat novel integration that’s appearing in more and more mobile applications, including The New York Times’s city guide app. Checkins will automatically be registered in the app’s new Dining Journal, designed to help users better keep track of the venues they’ve visited.

Perhaps more notably, Zagat To Go now includes access to thousands of food photos from the various dining venues listed in the app, so that consumers can determine whether the dishes served looks appetizing before they visit.

The photos are pulled from Foodspotting, a new social platform and mobile app that enables members, a.k.a. Foodspotters, to visually share and discover the best edible treats their neighborhood has to offer.

In addition to the Zagat app integration, Foodspotting also informed us that it released version 2.0 of its iPhone app [iTunes link] and website today, including a collection of food guides in partnership with the Travel Channel, Zagat and others.

Do you have the Zagat app on your iPhone? Do you find the new features genuinely useful or superfluous? What additional functionality would you like the app to have?

If you don’t have the app on your device, you can check out the video demo below to see the new features in action.

Video Demo

[thumbnail credit: haprog_]

More About: foodspotting, foursquare, iphone app, Mobile 2.0, zagat

For more Mobile coverage:

August 12 2010

Zagat Jumps on Group Buying Trend with Site for Restaurant Deals

Zagat Survey — the taste-setting restaurant and city review guide — will soon release Zagat Exclusives, its group buying initiative for deep discounts at Zagat-Rated restaurants in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The product will be powered by DealOn, a Groupon competitor offering deals in cities across the United States. Zagat Exclusives will cater to foodies and restaurateurs with deals at restaurants ranging in style from casual to special occasion.

The program will offer a slight twist to the current group buying trend and offer limited quantities on the exclusives for a fixed sale period. The price point will decrease as more people purchase the deal during the allotted window. The lowest price at the end of the sale is the price each buyer will pay.

Zagat now joins the likes of Yelp and OpenTable in tacking group buying on to their core product offerings. For Zagat, the “Exclusives” product seems to align perfectly with their brand, which is becoming increasingly more social and web-friendly in nature (it’s currently the most followed brand on Foursquare), and gives the company its own platform for capitalizing on an ever-growing trend. The foodie consumer now has a myriad of choices for pre-buying discount meals on the web, but the allure of saving at a Zagat-Rated restaurant is an offer that is sure to stand out.

Zagat Exclusives will launch in September in New York, but interested parties in 11 different cities can sign-up for e-mail notifications.

[img credit: ZagatBuzz]

Reviews: Yelp

More About: group buying, groupon, zagat

For more Social Media coverage:

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