The Location-based Service (LBS) is definitely going to spin off this year. Tens of Check-in service are already in the market, and more startups are desperately to join. Even big guys have started testing the market. Favspot, developed by Tom Group will be submitted to App Store soon this week, and we managed to get the latest dev version to test it out.

My first impression about Favspot: neat and nice designed. The most important part is, it is not like the usual check-in application at all. Favspot is about exploring and sharing the favorite places. It still needs you to check in the location, but unlike Foursquare and many others LBS which encourage you to check-in every place you’ve been to, Favspot only wants users to check-in the places (restaurant, bar, cafe etc) they like. You can also tag the place, leave message/tips and share it on other social media like Facebook, RenRen and Sina weibo.

Foursquare is considered as a good practice of the loyalty program for merchants. Talking about the business model, the insider said Favspot might try a different model. Instead of rewarding the Mayors who check-in multiple times on Foursquare-like service, Favspot is to reward the paid customers only. In other words, you paid for the service on spot first, then you will be encouraged to check-in the place with for example an unique code given by the merchants. You may get some discount next time. “Since you pay, more likely you like this place, so the check-in makes more sense for you as well as the merchant. The information is more valuable to be shared with your friends”. It sounds quite an interesting idea.

According to the insider, Tom Group seems very serious about this new product. Hong Kong will be the first market to test the water and soon it will be rolling out to the global market; The discussion with Three network is also ongoing and most likely Favspot will be pre-loaded into Three branded phones; Tom Group also owns a large publisher in Taiwan and one of its best sell books are travel series. Possibly Favspot will be the official recommended app for the book readers too. No need to remind you that Tom Group also owns the online portal, the outdoor media for marketing and advertising etc. We will see how Favspot will impact the Chinese LBS market soon.

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.

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