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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 29, 2010

MerchantCircle launches location-based app service

MerchantCircle has added another way for merchants to connect with consumers and with other merchants. Their Content Application Programming Interface (API) gives merchants within the network the ability to create apps using MerchantCircle's database of information.

by Kristina Knight

"With location based applications emerging as the future of mobile, developers are seeking ways to build upon the success of local check-in games like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt and others," said Jason Culverhouse, MerchantCircle CTO. "By sharing our rich data, merchants, consumers and developers win. We are excited to see both the creative ways that the developer community uses our data and the added distribution for our merchants."

The platform first allows third party app developers to develop apps on top of the existing MerchantCircle database. The information used in the apps can include promotion information, coupons, blog posts, images and even consumer reviews. Content hubs Citysearch, HelloMetro, 8Coupons and Locomatix have signed on to the platform.

"MerchantCircle's deep relationships in the small business community mean access to data that is unavailable elsewhere," said Dennis Mink, CEO of FootFeed, one site set to utilize the MerchantCircle platform. "An open avenue to merchant-created data will be invaluable for us as we work to create greater value for consumers using check-in platforms."

Developers can click here for more information about the new product.

Just how important are apps? Mobile app downloads are expected to increase by more than 90% by 2012 according to a recent Chetan Sharma Consulting report. Mobile app downloads reached 7 billion in 2009; by 2012 app downloads are expected to reach 50 billion.

While many consumers are still primarily downloading games, content apps are catching on fast. From news aggregators to movie times to local business information, people are also downloading 'informational' apps so that they can stay connected 24/7.

Tags: app developers, app development, appvertising, Merchant Circle, mobile marketing

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