Austin teams with Gowalla to create local trips

June 3, 2010
Category: Uncategorized
The Austin American-Statesman is teaming up with Gowalla, a location-based social media company, to provide eight “trips” around Austin built around Statesman content. Users who check in at locations on the trip earn virtual stamps and pins.
One tour, for instance, is based on columnist John Kelso’s Cranky Corner and includes stops at Smut Putt Heaven (“A back yard filled with baby doll heads and rubber snakes”) and the Texas Governor’s Office (“You’ve seen it on TV; now see Rick Perry’s hair in person in the Governor’s Office”). The paper’s entertainment site,, is also providing content for some of the trips.

Robert Quigley, the newspaper’s social media editor, says “at minimum, this is going to be a lot of fun for people to try our trips out, explore Austin and find things they don’t know about.” In the future, the Statesman may use completed trips to reward readers.

Gowalla has partnerships with National Geographic and The Washington Post. The better-known Foursquare has partnered with The Wall Street Journal to provide badges for those checking in at selected business spots in New York City, and with The New York Times for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

What makes the Austin project interesting is that it seems to be the first from a metro newspaper, rather than a larger organization. It’s also local in a way that is very specific to its readership and it is closely aligned with the tone of the content on which it’s based.

> Provencher: Don’t outsource location-based functions to Foursquare (Poynter’s Mobile Media)