Groupon has purchased Pelago, the maker of Whrrl, and it seems check-ins may be in the company's future. The partnership may result in new local marketing opportunities for brands.
Pelago created Whrrl, a cloud service that lets users easily access their check-in data, local pictures and their “want-to” (visit) lists from anywhere. As Brafton reported, Whrrl has been successfully used by companies looking to build loyalty and repeat visits. Oil provider Murphy USA reported that 85 percent of Whrrl Society Members opted to go to a Murphy USA location even when other gasoline stores were closer.
Now, Whrrl will be discontinued as Pelago and Groupon collaborate on expanding Groupon's “Grouponnovations.” Groupon says Pelago will help it continue its “anti-search mission” that promotes serendipitous discovery, and Whrrl executives say they are eager to combine their “idea economy” with Groupon's “deal economy.”
Though neither explicitly mentions whether check-ins will be added to Groupon, Pelago refers to the check-in as a core feature of its services (and seems to suggest it had the corner on this market before foursquare, as the company thanks original Pelago supporters from “the days when the idea of 'checking in' sounded like pure lunacy.”)
Check-ins with Groupon might mean that partners with the daily deal finder will receive the added benefit of local social recommendations. Nonetheless, marketers may want to focus on getting local recommendations from Google Places users. As Brafton has reported, Google Places is the leading driver of traffic to sites.