Location-based services continue to be the hot topic of the marketing and tech space. New location-based apps are launching weekly and existing location based apps are growing their user base faster than you can check-in into to @starbucks. But with everyone checking into to what everyone is called the next big thing I think it’s time for some unofficial guidelines for checking in using a few of the popular location based services.

Below are a few guidelines for using  location-based services.

Adding locations:

  • Add real locations only
  • Add as much information about the location as possible (address, phone, web, tags)
  • You can add events/virtual locations if they have been approved by the organizer
  • Don’t add fake mobile locations (someone’s boots, paints or computers)
  • It’s ok to add a location that’s or check into a location that’s close to your home and check in there instead of your home.

When to check-in

  • Walking or driving to a location if it’s in visible eye sight
  • When you’re leaving location
  • While at a location
  • Don’t share too many check-ins with your other social networks or they will unfollow/friend you.

Places you should think twice about checking into:

  • Banks
  • Courts
  • Jail
  • Strip clubs
  • Bathrooms
  • Police Stations
  • Day care centers
  • Schools
  • Your Home

Check-ins that shouldn’t count

  • Walking by stores in the mall or at outside venues
  • Driving by locations
  • Parking lot check-ins where you don’t actually go into the location but you see it.

Adding Photos to locations:

  • No porn photos using location-based apps
  • Food photos are ok 95% of the time
  • Post photos that can show where you’re at or what you’re doing

Leaving Reviews and tips:

  • Leave honest reviews and tips about your experience
  • Don’t spam by promoting another businesses in a review or tip
  • Don’t insult people or leave private information in tips.

Adding Friends:

  • Decide how you’re going to use location-based apps first
  • Optional: Accept every friend request
  • Optional: Block everyone except family members
  • Optional: Only accept friend request form people who you know and trust

Choosing a Location-based service

  • Pick one that works great with your mobile device
  • Pick one that your local community uses
  • Try them all at least once
  • Pick one that rewards you for using the service.

Check-in Specials:

  • Take advantage of as many check-in specials as possible before everyone else does
  • Don’t over brag that you received a free cup of coffee for checking in or you’re on top of the leader-board or received a few badges. (most of your friends don’t care)
  • It’s ok to let your social graph know that you received a check-in special

No stalking…. PERIOD!

Also see @Whrrl’s community guidelines

for digg: ab994cd58c0940429bd1b8cc2d4ecc74

Did I leave anything out? What are some rules/guildes you would like to see people implement using location-based services?

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