Geolocation

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  • Published : November 6, 2011
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E-Commerce|
Geolocation: Marketing Tool or Invasion of Privacy|
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Abstract

Do you know about the new marketing tool called geolocation? Companies are using it to drum up new business. With its rise in popularity and the growing number of smartphones in the United States, privacy and the threat of criminal activity are on the minds of lawmakers. What devices are equipped with geolocation, digitally storing records of our movements? How have social networks increased then risks? Do the benefits of geolocation outweigh the risks? How can users mitigate those risks?

Is your smart phone out smarting you? The information your phone collects may come as a surprise to you. It shocked me. A new technology is being used as a marketing tool and is called Geolocation. Your smartphone comes equipped with a GPS (Global Positioning System) chip. Notebooks, tablets and tom-toms do as well. Geolocation uses cell towers and satellite data to pinpoint your exact location. Services that support this technology, such as Foursquare, Loopt and Gowalla are being used by businesses to drum up new sales. They are hoping you will use their apps to find out where your friends are and get recommendations from them for restaurants, bars, theatres and retail shops near you. The businesses are able to offer special promotions, giveaways and such to those that “check in” from their smart phones in hopes that they will post their location when they visit and give a positive review. These posts appear on sites such as Twitter and Facebook to their followers and friends allowing the social media to be used as a marketing tool. Providers like Foursquare and Gowalla are rewarding the users of these apps with merit badges for checking in and silly titles such as “mayor” of a location are given to the one with the most check ins. In turn that establishment may offer the “mayor” a drink, a meal or ticket for free. This provides the element of...
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