Is the White House using PlacePop to check-in?

A few minutes ago I received a push notification on my iPhone from @PlacePop that Barack Obama checked in at InterContinental Toronto Centre as you can see via the iPhone screenshot above. What is @PlacePop? Per the http://www.placepop.com website:

PlacePop is a place-based, social networking application developed by Ooga Labs – a San Francisco-based consumer technology greenhouse. The company was founded in 2009 by Kent Lindstrom, former CEO of the social networking website Friendster.
PlacePop fills a gap in the geo social networking market by providing a simple location-based social app for consumers, combined with a mobile, web-based affinity marketing platform for local businesses.

After seeing the message I did a little research to see if this was a fake account and it looks like about 12 days ago the Barack Obama account first checked-in to the Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station and since then the White House – Oval Office. On another note, I don’t recall friending the Barack Obama account either, therefor I think it’s a partnership/marketing project with the social media team at the White House and PlacePop. Also the location/time of the check-in is someone what accurate being that the President is attending the G20 Summit in Toronto.

Barack Obama (obama_update) | PlacePop

Why is this a big deal or I’m blogging about it? Well for a couple of reasons. One being their are over 20 plus location-based services with @Foursquare, @Brightkite, @Loopt @whrrl and my favorite the hyper-local startup @TriOut (*partner) leading the way. PlacePop just launched in March, 2010 and if they landed a partnership with the White House or their PR/Social Media team that’s a big deal. Two, in a time where many attack Facebook for privacy and discuss the harms of using location-based services if the President of the United States (at least his traveling social media team) can use a location-based service to check-in so people can track his location, what does that say about everyone else or national security for that matter. Third, with the tech world drooling over the @Foursquare vs @Gowalla battle that is really not a battle, if it’s true what does it mean for them and other location-based services if the government picked PlacePop over them. Remember this: INFOGRAPHIC: If Obama Used Foursquare from @RWW in February 2010? Personally, I don’t think it means to much from a state of competition but more of a validation of the value of location-based services. Also note that “If” this true, PlacePop updates are more current than the @BarackObama tweets… interesting.

Regardless if it’s true or not PlacePop is an upcoming player in the location space and is one to watch for. At launch PlacePop had a check-in reward special with both Target and the Black Eyed Peas. Where the first 100 people to earn Silver status in PlacePop would receive 10 gift cards at Target and the first 1,000 people to check-in at any participating tour venue received a free song from the Black Eyed Peas. Those promotions were on the http://www.placepop.com/about/rewards/blackeyedpeas and http://www.placepop.com/about/rewards/target pages but are no longer showing up.

You can find me on PlacePop here: http://www.placepop.com/people/waynesutton

If you use PlacePop let me know how you use it in the comments below. If the @whitehouse / @BarackObama team are using @PlacePop to check-in what are your thoughts on the government using a location-based service?

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