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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8, 2010

CheckPoints offers new twist on location-based marketing



The smart phone revolution promises new ways to save money if you're willing to trade a bit of privacy.

Several week ago, Clark told you about ShopKick.com. This free app has partnered with Simon Malls, Best Buy, Macy's and others to feed real-time deals to customers on their smart phones as they wander around participating stores. Customer obviously have to enable geo-location targeting on their phones in order to participate.

Now there's a competing free app called CheckPoints.com that offers manufacturer deals while you're in the store.

With the CheckPoints app, you earn points for simply scanning the barcode on an item in a store. No purchase of the product is necessary. You can redeem the points you collect for free gift cards, airline miles and other perks.

Manufacturers find something like CheckPoints appealing because it means that you'll be handling the product already, so you'll be more likely to make a purchase anyway. So far Perdue and Belkin are among those on board.

Nobody knows which of these business models will work. But if you are a small business, there may be an opportunity here for you to use technology to reach out to customers. The New York Times lists several sites that specialize in location-based marketing to get you started.