Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in th Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in the US and China. Check out his personal blog to connect with him or follow him on Twitter (if you dare).
Lawrence Coburn is the CEO of RateItAll.com, the parent company of brand new location based iPhone App DoubleDutch (app store link). Lawrence is also an editor of the location blog here at The Next Web. In this interview, we discuss RateItAll’s new DoubleDutch iPhone app.
Chad: So what is DoubleDutch?
Lawrence: DoubleDutch is the first white label, geolocation check in app for the iPhone. Now conferences, hotels, companies, universities, etc. can provide a social location experience under their own brands for their own communities.
If Foursquare is like Facebook, DoubleDutch is like Ning.
Chad: Is there an example iPhone app we can play with?
Lawrence: Yes, the DoubleDutch example application is in the app store. You can get it HERE for free.
Chad: Is the DoubleDutch example app a competitor to services like Foursquare and Gowalla?
Lawrence: Technically, I guess it is. But in reality, we don’t plan to put marketing resources around the example app. The primary purpose of the example app is to showcase the application’s features and functionality to potential white label partners.
Chad: As you know there are so many location apps coming out right now. How are you so different? What makes you think you’ll stand out from the crowd?
Lawrence: In terms of the incumbents – Gowalla and Foursquare – the biggest feature difference is the reviews and photo integration. With DoubleDutch, users can post ratings, reviews, and photos of venues all over the world. We also put more of an emphasis on search and discovery than the other check in apps. For example, you can search for, and rate businesses and points of interest all over the world.
And again, from a business perspective, the fact that we white label the entire app on a fully branded basis makes this a very different play than the vast majority of the new location startups.
I think the question of “how are you different” will in some respects be left up to our white label partners. There will be huge differences in the geo data powering each app, the target market, the customized screen, etc.
And finally, from an infrastructure perspective, DoubleDutch’s access to the giant RateItAll database of geolocated data, millions of reviews, and mundane things like admin processes, moderators, and user submission tools have been quite helpful in building this app. We think these things will give us a non trivial advantage over some of the newer players.
Chad: How does DoubleDutch tie in with your existing company, RateItAll?
Lawrence: We think that location based check-ins are a natural extension of consumer rating. A check in is a vote for a venue with your feet, and likely your wallet. Just like access to sales data has allowed Amazon to build a tremendous database of consumer product reviews, we think that check-ins will translate to local business reviews.
Additionally, a check in adds a measure of credibility to a review – it’s an indication that the reviewer was actually there.
Chad: What features are included in DoubleDutch?
Lawrence: Here is a quick list:
– Social check-ins
– Search and discovery
– Locals view: see who’s in the neighborhood
– Consumer reviews and photo uploads
– Global and friend leaderboards
– Twitter and Facebook integration
– Game dynamics such as achievement stickers
Chad: What parts of DoubleDutch are customizable for white label partners?
Lawrence: DoubleDutch is quite customizable. Here are some of the things you can customize:
– The app’s name and artwork
– The venue data itself (for example, a university partner could load up its dorm geolocations)
– The achievement stickers
– Each partner gets a custom tab to deliver whatever content they desire
– Color scheme
Chad: Do you think the security / privacy issues around sharing your location will be a challenge for you in distributing this app?
Lawrence: Actually, we think it will be an advantage. The white label aspect of DoubleDutch can provide communities with a bit more security and peace of mind about sharing their location. To take an extreme example, I could create a geolocation app just for my family members, and that only members of my family would have access to. This is the power of a white label app – your community can be as private as you want it to be.
Chad: Where do you get your geo data?
Lawrence: From a variety of sources. We’ve been steadily building up our database over ten years through partnerships, publicly available data, and user submissions. We believe the size and breadth of our database will offer our partners immediate value.
Chad: What sorts of communities do you think can benefit the most from licensing a branded DoubleDutch app?
Lawrence: We think that DoubleDutch is a great fit for any community that is tied to a geography, and especially for travel related industries in which likeminded travelers are converging on a new city.
Chad: What’s the revenue model?
Lawrence: We will license the app to our partners. Additionally, we plan to roll in an ad / coupon network and share revenue with our white label partners.
Chad: So why should companies consider licensing DoubleDutch?
Lawrence: We think it’s a way for companies and communities to create pervasive and ongoing connections with their customers / members. Location based services offer a fantastic opportunity for quick moving companies to use technology as a competitive advantage.
Chad: Any plans to provide DoubleDutch functionality for Web or Android?
Chad: Anything else you’d like to share about DoubleDutch?
This was an extremely fun project work in. As we’ve touched on repeatedly in this blog, the element of location adds a whole new dimension to many aspects of social media. And I think consumer ratings of local businesses are especially impacted by adding location into the mix.
If anyone would like to learn more about DoubleDutch, feel free to drop me a line.
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