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SNAP Interactive Rolls out Location-Based Platform

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April 11, 2011

SNAP Interactive Rolls out Location-Based Platform

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

SNAP Interactive, creator of the popular online dating platform, is not only in the business of helping individuals find lasting love. It is also in the business of helping people stay in the know about where the popular hotspots are and where they kind find interesting people.

“As we grew the team, we were looking for an industry that was exciting and thought we could really bring a unique perspective, and we thought location was really exciting,” Cliff Lerner, co-founder and CEO of SNAP told TMCnet. “We are pretty confident that in the next 12 to 24 months location-based services are going to be really huge.”

Accordingly, SNAP decided to launch, an online platform to allow you to find out where your friends are, chat with your friends and meet new people nearby. This February, the WhoIsNear brand began beta testing and recently the platform surpassed 500,000 users.

The WhoIsNear brand is available through a website, as a Facebook app and as an iPhone (News - Alert) app. The brand is built upon the Facebook platform and it requires users to sign up through Facebook.

“The reason we did that is because in order for a location-based product to work you have to have your friends on there,” Lerner said. “We saw a lot of problems with competitors out there where the users weren’t going through the effort of reinventing their whole social graph. It’s really hard to do, and we thought that by forcing the user to sign up through Facebook (News - Alert) they don’t have to do it; their entire social graph is on the product.”

The platform works as a check-in service where you can let your social network know when you have reached your venue, your home, office or a random location by “checking in.”

The brand allows users to establish that they “are out and about,” according to Lerner, and see where their friends are as well.

“We have live chats; if you see your friends nearby you probably want to talk to them in real time so we a have a live chat feature where you can start chatting with that person right away,” Lerner said.

So why would someone be interested in knowing where all his/her friends are at any given moment?

“The possibilities for this are limitless at the end of the day,” Lerner said. “We have a map and once we figure out where you are we can immediately show you where your friends are and where other interesting people are.”

“At the end of the day when there is a mobile device that knows where you are, there are lots of interesting experiences that we can create around that, whether it’s where your friends are or where other interesting people are located,” he added.

Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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