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Are Deal Sites Making Consumers Jaded?

If you visit Whole Foods in the next few weeks, you could earn yourself a refreshing Tazo tea just for checking-in at the checkout counter. The promotion is being run by Foursquare competitor Gowalla and it includes opportunities to earn a $25 Whole Foods gift certificate or other related “goodies.”

This is another great example of using location-based apps to promote a product so I was surprised to see a writer for Daily Finance taking the program to task.

“Um, wonderful. So I’m going to check in at Whole Foods and enter a contest to win a whopping $25 gift card and maybe some special team items that aren’t even mentioned in this promo. I’m sorry, Gowalla. A contest for a $25 gift card simply isn’t going to cut it in an era of total Groupon frenzy with 75% discounts on hot restaurants”

Google Adds Product Search Enhancements Sometime in the Very Near Future … We Guess

In fine Google fashion the search giant has ‘announced’ some feature additions to their Product Search offering that can be explained in post on their blog but not replicated in the wild (at least by the blogger yet). As was pointed out to me, the post actually said the improvements would be made ‘this week’ so silly me for reading a post on new features and assuming that they could actually be used.

At any rate, when these changes come down the pike Google’s Product Search will have some new features that will include “In Stock” notifications and a way to find what nearby stores have the item you are looking for. Of course that is assuming that the retailer is part of the program etc, etc, etc.

Consumers Plan to Use Mobile Phones for Holiday Shopping

59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls. That’s a huge jump over 2009, when the number was only 25%.

The numbers come from the October 2010 U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing, which was conducted on behalf of the The Mobile Marketing Association and it’s even further proof that mobile marketing is on the rise.

Of those who expected to use their phone to faciliate shopping, 64% said they’re check their phone before going to a store, but only 12% said it would be in response to a  TV, billboard or newspaper ad. What are they using the phones for? To search for locations where a gift is sold and to compare prices were the two most common responses.

TV Ads Don’t Equal Big Sales for Online Products

You’re the author of a book on how to turn kitchen waste into cash and you want to spread the word. So what do you do? Why not invest in a snazzy TV commercial to play on the Food Network or during Pawn Stars. This is your audience, foodies who love to treasure hunt! But author Joel Comm says don’t waste your money because despite all the hype, TV ads are not the stuff dreams are made on.

It goes back to the early days of TV, when Ralph and Norton demonstrated the Handy Housewife Helper and Lucy proclaimed that Vitameatavegamin was so tasty, too! For years, sitcoms have taught us that a single TV commercial can result in an avalanche of sales which generally left our TV hero struggling to meet the demand with comical results.  In reality, a TV commercial is just another tool in the tool kit and not always the best tool for the job.

Gap’s Facebook Places Giveaway: Success or Failure?

This weekend, The Gap helped Facebook Places claim their place as a viable Foursquare contender by giving away 10,000 pairs of free jeans.

On the surface, it seemed simple enough. Show up at your local Gap store on November 5th. Check in using Facebook Places. Show the cashier your check-in acknowledgment and get a coupon for free jeans as long as you’re one of the first 10,000 customers.

But of course, that’s not how it went down. First, the event instructions didn’t make it clear that you had to have an iPhone or Droid in order to check-in (and I hear that older phones didn’t provide the same icon response as newer phones). Other smartphones wouldn’t cut it. Next, they failed to make it clear that each store had a different quantity of free jeans on hand, likely based on the income of that store.

Lowe’s, Best Buy Start Black Friday Early

It’s 8:47 pm PST, nearly midnight on the east coast and 2,000 people have just left a comment on a Lowe’s Facebook post that went up five minutes ago. Why? Because in just a few minutes, Lowe’s is going to launch their Black Friday Sneak Peek Party where they say they’ll be giving out coupon codes for up to 90% off items at Lowes.com.

The deals will be off specific items and limited in quantity which means bargain hunters have to virtually stand in line and fight the crowd if they want to get one. A coupon handed out at 1 am will probably sell out within the hour, which of course, is meant to entice people to stay on all day and night. In between giveaways, Lowe’s is going to announce the Black Friday sale items that will be available on the real BF – the day after Thanksgiving. Talk about creating a buzz!

Amazon Hooks Up with Facebook For Gift Card Giving

Just in time for the holidays! The ability to spend even more time on Facebook! Amazon would like you to know that you can now send Amazon gift cards directly to your Facebook friends instead of having to use that pesky old email. Neat, huh?

To make sure everyone gets the picture, they’re even running a special Give 5, Get 5 promotion. Give five $1 mp3 gift certificates to five Facebook friends and the first 100,000 users will get a $5 Amazon gift certificate in return.

It’s a pretty smart way to get the masses to do your marketing for you. Five dollars is an amount most people won’t think twice about throwing away and since you’re required to send it to five people (you can’t send $5 to one person), Amazon has assured themselves a wide reach.