Location-based mobile service holds “check-in” contest

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    A place in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll brings more than just football recognition.

    As a location-based mobile and web service, Gowalla has partnered with the Associated Press to launch the AP Top 25 Gowalla Check-in Challenge.

    Gowalla has offered the opportunity to those select universities to check-in at designated “spots” on campus using the Gowalla application via phone or on the web, said Gowalla Marketing and Communications Manager Pia Arthur.

    With every spot check-in, points will be granted to that university. The school with the most points by the end of the regular season will receive a $10,000 donation for its scholarship fund.

    In addition to the scholarship, each university student, faculty or staff member will be eligible for the chance to receive prizes such as an iPad, iPod nano or MacBook Air, Arthur said.

    One of the main goals of Gowalla has always been to encourage people to go out and discover new places and things, Arthur said. It allows people to keep up with friends and share the places they go.

    Arthur said partnering with the AP was a great way to get students involved in the website.

    “We’ve seen a major uptake of people checking in on universities and more interest from university students,” Arthur said. “It’s a great way to continue to build camaraderie in schools.”

    According to the website, the university was ranked No. 14, just one rank behind Mountain West Conference rival University of Utah. The University of Texas at Austin held the No. 1 spot with more than 650 points.

    Schieffer School of Journalism instructor Steve Levering, a Top 10 TCU visitor on Gowalla, wrote in an e-mail that he decided to try Gowalla after using foursquare, a similar application that will also track locations, and because he knew friends who also used Gowalla. Levering said the benefits were worth the effort.

    “TCU could get a scholarship out of it, and I could potentially win a MacBook,” Levering wrote.

    Once Gowalla is downloaded, users on campus will notice an extra tab added to the application page that will read, “Associated Press Top 25 Check-in Challenge,” Arthur said. Once the tab is clicked, all the designated “spots” on campus would be revealed in order to gain more points. Users will be able to check-in at one or all five spots in one day, she said.

    Every time Gowalla users check-in somewhere, a custom-designed stamp is added to their Gowalla Passport, a digital collection of stamps representative of all the places visited. This will allow them to upload pictures from the different places, highlight meaningful events and comment on the places that friends have visited, according to the website.

    “What we’re hoping to do is encourage students in a fun way to compete to see if their school can win a $10,000 scholarship,” Arthur said.

    According to the website, Gowalla is a free application that can be downloaded on an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or Palm webOS phone.

    Track TCU on Gowalla

    Gowalla Home Page

    Gowalla University Rankings

    TCU’s Gowalla Page

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