Favspot is a LBS service for you to save your favorite spots, share them with your friends and discover where other user favorite spots are. It’s developed by Tom Group, and we had it profiled before it went on public. Now Favspot is one of the hottest apps in lifestyle category on App Store HK.
Last weekend, we had the chance to talk to Edwyn Chan, the guy who manages Favspot team. Originally from Hong Kong, Edwyn has been in China for six years. He started off doing Web 2.0 consultancy for a Sichuanese Newspaper (chengdu.cn), a blog media experiment and an International MBA at joint Tsinghua-MIT program. After graduation from the Tsinghua, he joined the NBA China before started Favspot project.
A Location Bookmarking Service
The best words to describe Favspot are, as Edwyn thinks, a Location Bookmarking service. Edwyn think there are lots of people including him keep forgetting about those good restaurants they like if they had not visited for a while, and as a huge fan of Delicious, he believes there is the need for bookmarking the restaurants, i.e. the locations.
The Different from Foursquare/Jiepang/Dianping
Edywn thinks the fundamental difference is that Favspot is a service that lets you not only “save” your location but also for you to retrieve it back. In his opinion this is quite different from Foursquare/Jiepang whose focus are not about saving the location you are at but just telling people you are there. They are not built to help you manage your database of spots. He said, “Favspot is about places that you have a emotional attachment to, a place you telling the world you like and some place you just happen to be at.”
As for Dianping which is the leading Yelp-like service in China, Edywn’s comment is that Dianping is a directory of shops, which is rather impersonal. Favspot is more Social. On Favspot, the restaurant is recommended by your friend instead of being “Recommended” by the internet.
The Development Mentality
When we wrote about the Favspot, the product, we said it’s neat and nice designed. So I asked Edwyn for his experience on app development. He said,
The single biggest thing I learnt was the importance of interactive designers in the development process. In the Internet world, everyone’s idea (product functions) are about the same and development is kinda a commodity with open source but what really makes a difference is user experience and you really need to have your interactive design well thought out.
So, in Edwyn’s opinion, Favspot is very product driven, neither marketing nor tech oriented. He believes that a good product is something that serves a unmet need effectively and if so it should market itself. As for tech, its easy for companies with tech prowness to over engineer their products. “Less is more and the best products aren’t the ones that can solve lots of problems relatively well but instead solve a big problem very well.” commented by Edwyn.
Hong Kong and China Market
Favspot’s team is based in Beijing, but it’s launched and doing marketing in HK. Edwyn explained that he was originally part of the TOM/NBA team in Beijing when TOM got the license to operate the NBA official site for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. After that project ended, the team took on the Favspot project and logically development continued in Beijing. The reason of using Hong Kong as launch market because TOM is part of the Hutchison Group and has a good foothold in the Hong Kong market. Edwyn thought that it made the most sense to market the app and test the business model in our parent company’s “home turf” where they could work with our sister company, wireless operator Three.
As for China, Favspot is in talks with a company similar to Three to be our marketing/operations partner for the China market. But Edwyn could not disclose which telecom company they will be working with.
Favspot was test launched 8 weeks ago in Hong Kong and had around 23000 downloads, which is not bad considering Hong Kong is just a small test market.Edwyn said its original target for Hong Kong was around 30-40k downloads until the end of 2011 and luckily the press has been really supportive. Favspot has gotten 140+ mentions in the press and have gotten favorable reviews in local tech magazines such as PCM.
the Business Model
What’s the Business model is always the big question for LBS service. Edwyn said they were looking at a range of business models and testing them out. Favspot has done a few test runs on location based SMS marketing/Geofencing with some merchants. For the past two weeks and every Thrusday til mid October Favspot will be working with merchants, such as Pacific Coffee, White Spot’s Tripple Os Burger to give out free products through location SMS to test out geofencing as a viable marketing channel for a future product.
What Edwyn is most interested in is making a business out of CRM for merchants. Favspot is to reward loyal customers at their favorite spots, therefore it will be a triple win: users get rewards, merchants get loyal and happy customers and repeated sales and Favspot makes money.
the Next for Favspot
Favspot team is working on stability for the rest of this first version. In parallel they are also working on a full overhaul of the code with some neat new functions for the 2.0 version which will come out late this year.