Week 5 Guest Speaker Roundup – by Julie Schlax-Patrick

A Conversation with Heather Meeker of Whrrl.com

By UCLA X425 Student Julie Schlax-Patrick

“Give it a Whrrl”

Geolocation is the hot new social media area according to Heather Meeker, Director, Corporate and Marketing Communications for Whrrl, a geolocation company based in Seattle. Geolocation focuses on where you are at and what you are doing at a specific time.

A fairly new company, Whrrl is one of a handful of players in the new geolocation space. According to Meeker, geolocation is an interesting application that can track users “checking in” by location while giving them the option of joining “societies” based on areas of personal interest. In return, Whrrl aggregates the information and offers content recommendations to users based on how many people have “checked in” in the area or society interest category.

Meeker states that Whrrl is currently the only geolocation application that offers content/recommendations to its users. A Whrrl company executive formerly worked for Amazon and helped pioneer the cross-sell idea “if you like that, you might like this.” The Whrrl application is based in large part on this idea.

Geolocation applications offer great potential for retail-based businesses tied to brick-and-mortar physical locations. For example, Meeker explained that a promotion Whrrl ran with Murphy USA gas stations in the mid-west offering free gas has proven very successful. Users check in at the pump and are entered to win prizes via the mobile app.

In contrast to other companies like Foursquare that aren’t targeted or personalized, Whrrl seems a step ahead in the geolocation game by offering a value add to the consumer by recommending relevant content. This is also a smart move to capture interests and niche markets that will be attractive to potential future advertisers.

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