It was one of those weeks. You know, a week where the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, your least favorite customer came in three times, and your boss just wouldn’t quit breathing down your neck. But at least it’s over; you finally made it to Friday.
You’re supposed to go out on the town and blow off some steam with your buddies, but you get a text from Dave and find out your plans fell through. It’s already 8:00 PM. You begin staring blankly at your Facebook hoping for something to happen.
Well, as usual, nothing happens except for a few pointless status updates and profile picture changes. 10:00 PM rolls around. You turn off the TV and decide to go to sleep, thinking about how you wasted another Friday night.
Listen, I have good news. This never has to be you again. There are plenty of online avenues to help you make your night a memorable one — you just have to take the time to look.
First, try Yelp and see what’s in your area, especially if you already have some ideas as to what you’re looking for. You can search by area code and filter through various categories, such as: food, coffee, dinner, spa, night life etc. You can even filter through businesses and events that are accessible by metro, or within walking distance from your apartment. Best of all, each listing contains a 5-point rating system from real-life visitors so you can make sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Eventful has one of the most comprehensive selections to fulfill your local entertainment appetite — find out what’s happening in your area with ease. They list everything from movies, concerts, and sports to family fun and nightlife. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can even demand an event to come directly to your city.
If you’re looking for a good deal, be sure to check Groupon on the reg. Every day there are new “group coupons” available for the best stuff to do, see and eat. Grab some of your friends, save money and share great experiences. It’s like the Costco of event planning.
Another site, Goby, operates like a search engine focused on giving you fun things to do with your free time. Simply fill in what you’d like to do, where’d you’d like to do it, and when. You’re a few clicks away from creating this weekend’s adventure.
A similar website, A Day’s Outing, offers their services with a simple tagline: “get out and go.” Find fairs, events for family and children, parks, gardens, theatre, museums, antiques, farms and more. A Day’s Outing will help find events near you, whether you’re starting from home or on the road.
And with the addition of Zaarly, your options are pretty much unlimited. Pretend you wanted to go to a concert, basketball game, or movie but the tickets were completely sold out. No need to worry anymore. Post on Zaarly: “I’m willing to pay (X) amount of money for tickets to (Y)”. You choose your price and people near you make it happen.
You never have to waste another Friday night again.
Proximity is key in 2011. GPS-aware mobile devices are becoming more common, enabling location-based mobile services that take advantage of geographical position to become broadly adopted.
Mobile local social applications leveraging peer-to-peer location-based technologies provide information, entertainment and even fun for a growing user base.
Location is relevant in almost any equation, which means applications, web sites, and services will push to integrate even more location functionality. Location is already becoming ubiquitous, being built into most of our favorite applications. When we use Yelp’s mobile app, we can find nearby restaurants. If we share our location with Flixster on our mobile devices, the app shows us movies and theaters within a certain radius. A Google search returns local place results based on IP address.
Early tech adopters began using location-based games in 2009 as services like Foursquare and Gowalla took SXSW by storm. Friends shared their locations with each other, and users competed to become mayors of venues. Businesses jumped on the bandwagon, exploring opportunities to offer rewards to frequent customers. SCVNGR linked its location-based game platform to chain restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings, offering customers interactive challenges to win prizes.
Location-based apps help businesses reach consumers in the neighborhood so to speak. Creative companies have offered timed and targeted special offers to the customers best-suited to respond. Location-based marketing campaigns offer valuable insights for business owners.
Daily deal apps like Groupon and LivingSocial have helped consumers save money by leveraging the collective power of groups of people near each other who want the same thing. By encouraging sharing with friends and partnering with hot new restaurants and services, Groupon has made coupon clipping chic again in 2011.
Not to be denied after Groupon declined its $6 billion acquisition offer, Google recently announced its own entry into the daily deal market: Google Offers. Even though it is late to the game, Google Offers is well positioned to eclipse the top two established, well-funded players in the space.
Expanding your network is easier than ever in 2011. Services like Whrrl connect real-world groups around specific passions or interests. The app offers societies for gourmands, bicycle enthusiasts, parents — just about anything you can imagine. Users make recommendations to one another, and they earn points when other members take their suggestions.
In the future, Yobongo will enable you to take location-based networking a step further by creating real-time chatrooms with people near you. We will be able to find common interests and connect with new people much more easily.
Zaarly takes location-based purchasing to a new level by creating a hyper-local marketplace of buyers and sellers. With Zaarly people who want things and people who want to provide services are brought together in an unprecedented way, with the focus on the buyer’s needs. Buyers post what they want and how much they’re willing to pay and sellers can log in to Zaarly view the needs and prices of tasks around them. Sellers bid for the tasks, and the buyer chooses the best one, with Zaarly connecting the two via an anonymous Twilio-powered phone number.
As we posted yesterday, smart phones are becoming ubiquitous. Location-based services are empowering users to connect with new friends, support local businesses, try new restaurants, and save money like never before. Who knew you needed a cell phone app to find out that your neighbor shared your interest in kickball? You just found a new teammate for next season. That’s so 2011.
It’s the end of the week. The weekend is almost here. Before it starts, we’re going to give you some ideas to help you rock your Friday night.
– Use Foursquare, check out the places that are “trending” nearby and invite your friends there for a good party.
– Use Yelp to discover the hottest night spots in your city. Pick one and go there.
– Use Twitter and tweet “What is hopping tonight around here?” and wait for some replies. You’ll quickly get some suggestions.
– Use Zaarly to snag tickets to a nearby concert or comedy show. Just post what you’re willing to pay and someone will bring their tickets to you.
– To end your awesome night and to satisfy your late-night hunger, Zaarly a cheeseburger.
Before you go out this weekend, use your apps to help you find the best places to go for the experience you want. Or, heck, try going somewhere you’ve never been. You never know – you might just have the best Friday night ever.