A mysterious Twitpic posted by Rummble a few hours ago aluded to something called “Operation Quebec Romeo”. What was it all about though?
Well, armed with a bicycle and a stack of QR code stickers similar to the one pictured here, the London-based startup has been making its way around the city visiting a wide range of venues from spa hotels to café bars. The team’s mission? To expand the userbase of Rummble in Amsterdam by making it as easy as possible for people to check in and review locations.
The company’s Alex Housley tells me that using good old-fashioned face-to-face sales patter, the team has managed to get QR codes displayed in nearly every venue that they have approached. When a user scans the code with a QR code reader on their phone, they are taken to the Rummble page for that venue, complete with any previous reviews and checkins that it has received.
It’s a smart move to boost the visibility of the service in a city that has proved itself to be welcoming to location-based services. Foursquare’s first European presence was here and party-oriented location service Feest.je is focusing its efforts on the Amsterdam scene.
Google has been rolling out a similar project in the USA, with QR codes being sent to 100,000 businesses. These provide a direct link to each company’s Google Places review page. By attempting this in Amsterdam now, Rummble is pre-empting Google’s likely international expansion of the project in the future. It was this week revealed that Facebook is attempting a similar project too, albeit based on SMS instead of QR codes.
Rummble is one company that has definitely left a lasting impression on this year’s conference. With the team wearing branded t-shirts they’ve been instantly recognisable, and founder Andrew J. Scott gave a well-received talk on day one.
The company has also this week announced a partnership with one of the earliest social location services, WAYN, to launch a new app that combines WAYN’s people-finding capability with Rummble’s database of locations. It launches on iPhone and Android in May.
Meanwhile, it’s too early to judge the success of Rummble’s bicycle-powered QR code mission to flood Amsterdam with new users but you’ve got to give them points for seizing the opportunity and taking the initiative.
Watch Andrew J. Scott discuss Rummble in Techfluff’s video interview here.