Posted March 1, 2011 4:44 pm by with 1 comment

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It’s been more than two years since Loopt promised to bring local business advertising to cell phones. According to the WSJ, that plan is supposedly near to fruition:

On Tuesday Loopt, a social network catered to mobile-device users, unveiled a plan to allow advertisers to send alerts to Loopt users, based on their location, when they want to offer them an limited-time deal.

A restaurant looking to fill empty seats, for example, could alert a nearby Loopt user of a special price for a meal if they arrived first, says Loopt’s chief executive Sam Altman, in an interview. “We’re very excited about this,” he says.

Think of it as Groupon meets Foursquare meets Yelp. Advertisers can send ads based on the close proximity of one of Loopt’s five million users and offer-up a deal that may be too delicious to pass up (pardon the pun).

Depending on how you look at it, the fact that users don’t have to check-in to receive the offer, is either really cool or really annoying. Fortunately, Loopt users will have to opt-in to receive the Rewards Alerts service.

Now, if the ads could include targeting based on my eating habits, this could be a winner. If Loopt knows that I tend to grab a Dunkin Donut around 10am, then it would make sense for Krispy Kreme to try and get a piece of that action–the next time I pass by at that time.

Of course, this assumes you use Loopt. I don’t, but the prospect of free food–or a discount on a new pair of sneakers–has peaked my curiosity enough to try it out.

I just need to wait for the service to expand beyond Austin–although I will be in Austin for PubCon next week. FTW!