I have written before about the ethics of geofencing since there are all sorts of questions raised about where data collection stops and stalking starts.
One of the uses I had suggested might occur was geofencing other arts and cultural organizations in your region and using the information about willingness to participate to present people with options at your organization. Which again, could also been seen as letting someone else do the hard work of attracting participation and then using geofencing to gather information about those who show up.
Last week I came across a pretty puzzling use of geofencing that almost seemed to be using the technology in the to send people to a competitor. Burger King was offering people one cent Whoppers…but to qualify, you have to be standing near a McDonalds.
Burger King geofenced McDonald’s locations so that when you use their app near a Mc Donald’s you can place an order for a Whopper and will be directed to the nearest Burger King.
Big question is obviously, why someone would make an extra effort drive away from a McDonalds they just took time to get close to?
Then of course there is the fact that BK has 6600 locations. McDonalds has 14,000. Which means there is a fair chance you will actually be closer to another McDonalds than a Burger King restaurant and possibly pass it on the way to the Burger King.
This seems like the type of promotion geared toward people who already prefer Burger King over McDonalds rather than something that will attract new people to Burger King.
While art and cultural organizations might be accused of running promotions that reinforce their relationship with existing audiences even as they say they are seeking new ones, I can’t think of a practice that makes people go through such absurd lengths as stopping just short of the threshold of an alternative option to redeem it.
But if you can think of one, I would love to hear it.