Yelp makes "checking in" more rewarding

The big trend these days is to use your phone to “check in” wherever you go – whether it’s at the airport, a holiday shopping trip, or a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Now, thanks to a new service from Yelp, you might start getting special discounts and offers for your willingness to share such information.

Yelp’s “Check-in Offers” is a new program designed to encourage users to use its app when visiting any establishment. The Yelp app has a feature that lets users post messages to Facebook and Twitter whenever they visit a place and want to let their friends know about it.

It’s a great form of word-of-mouth marketing for local businesses, but not all users are too keen to share their location with everyone. Now, those businesses can strike a deal with Yelp so that anyone who checks into their location will receive special offers pushed directly to their phone.

Imagine visiting a restaurant and you see a sign: “Check in with the Yelp app and receive 10% off your bill.” Would you be willing to share your location for such a deal?

It’s a move that not only gets businesses on board with Yelp but consumers as well. That gives it an edge over similar services offered by other app developers. The most popular location-based check-in service is Foursquare, which has garnered up millions of users but created controversy over its stalker-friendly tracking.

But people have shown they are willing to lose privacy in order to get good, special offers. So expect more of this in the future.