All Articles Marketing Marketing Strategy "Open database of places": Could it be true?

“Open database of places”: Could it be true?

2 min read

Marketing Strategy

Since social media landed on the radar of business marketers, one of the toughest challenges has been how to keep up with the latest tools and platforms. It wasn’t long ago that I was charged with building my former company’s MySpace strategy. Man, that skin was something else. Today, marketers are faced with more opportunities than ever — but directing resources toward all of them is near impossible. So what do we do?

Some of us bet on the front-runners; some us gamble on the new kids on the block; and some of us build our own networks.  Nearly all of us, though, are hoping for a universe where data is shared across platforms, allowing business to engage efficiently and effectively.

The lead story in today’s SmartBrief on Social Media examines the possibility of such a system in the white-hot location-based services sector.  Erick Schonfeld’s back and forth with Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley suggests that a shared database of places may not be impossible. Crowley calls a “Facebook Connect for places” an “amazing” opportunity that will be “fixed by next year.”  Next year? That would be impressive.

If such an open database were to come to fruition, it seems plausible that it could start in the location-based area. These are, after all,  physical locations, not virtual spaces. What might be built could serve as a shared atlas, complete with rich data on users, businesses, transactions, reviews. The possibilities are exciting for developers, end-users and, of course, businesses.

While we seem to be hearing more great case studies of companies leveraging location-based social services (which, incidentally, I’ll be covering in my session with Foursquare’s Tristan Walker at the upcoming Social Media Success Summit), the truth is that the vast majority of businesses are still struggling to leverage these services — partially because the usage and data is so splintered.

If Crowley’s prophecy proves correct, and an “open database of places” were to become a reality, would you (as a marketer) be more likely to engage with location-based social services?

Image credit, Maica, via iStock