Yelp added the check-in feature to its app in January, just as the hype around Foursquare began to grow. Since the launch, the company said it has seen on average a 50% growth month to month on check-ins, although it doesn’t say how many users that entails.
Now, mobile users will support check-in rewards. For example, if you use the Yelp app to check in to your favorite coffee shop, you may receive a free cup of Joe after a certain number of times. The company says there are over 1,500 Yelp check-in offers and it will first be available on the Android version and then shortly come to the iPhone.
The Yelp check-in rewards join a crowded field of companies which want to give users incentives for sharing their location. SCVNGR, Foursquare and Facebook Places all offer something similar for users checking in.
Of all these services, I’m convinced that Facebook Places has the largest chance of being a mainstream hit. As we know, only 4% of adults really use these types of services but the world’s largest social network has the reach and potential to change that.
The company launched Facebook Places deals and this offers a free platform for merchants to establish deals. It’s relatively straight forward to set up but it’s unclear how big a role Facebook will play in vetting the deals – if a store can’t handle the deal, it will lead to a bad experience for the store, end user and Facebook.
The Yelp check-in rewards may be able to carve out a niche with restaurants and food-based establishments because it does have a strong user base in certain markets. I know I’ll try it out.