I’ve been thoroughly confused by location-based services that allow the users to create venues. Many times, this practices leaves the LBS with a ton of duplicate venues. Facebook just announced they have partnered with Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah to bring the location experience to the world’s largest social network. The Places feature on Facebook will allow businesses to claim their Place and merge it with an existing Facebook Page. Okay. Cool. But what happens when there are duplicate venues that already exists not just within a single platform, but across platforms? (Facebook answered a lot of questions in its FAQ section on Places, but this one remains unanswered.)
Here’s what Facebook has the potential to do. It can solve the duplicate venues problem once and for all.
At point A., if Facebook allows business owners and managers to merge multiple LBS locations with a single Facebook page, it can solve one of the biggest problems in the location industry. That would allow the location-based platforms to better track and merge duplicate venues.
But another issue occurs at point B. What happens if not every location has a Facebook Page? Do they have to make one? Some corporations don’t allow franchisees to manage individual Facebook Pages for their branch. What happens to those locations on Facebook? Is the corporate site allowed to merge multiple Facebook Places into a single Page?
To be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed by the Facebook press conference tonight. I may have missed the answers to these questions, but then again, Zuck did say, “There’s a lot we aren’t doing…yet.” The possibilities are there. Will Facebook and the LBS networks follow them up with actions? And if so, when?