AT&T launches location-targeted ShopAlerts deals program

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AT&T (NYSE:T) is joining forces with location-based mobile marketing platform Placecast to introduce ShopAlerts, which the operator touts as the first large-scale, geo-specific consumer deals program spearheaded by a U.S. wireless operator. Initially rolling out in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, ShopAlerts will deliver offers, rewards and coupons based on each opt-in subscriber's specific geographic location; AT&T said it will create "geo-fences"--i.e., virtual perimeters around retailer sites, events or geographic region--to deliver relevant messages at the point of sale. In addition to local offers, AT&T will bolster ShopAlerts messages with customized content like weather and traffic.

AT&T will unveil ShopAlerts in association with advertising partners including HP, Kmart, JetBlue, SC Johnson, Kibbles 'n Bits, Nature's Recipe and the National Milk Mustache "got milk?" campaign. The New York Times reports that beginning in March, JetBlue will establish geo-fences around designated airports, awarding rewards points when travelers in the airline's TrueBlue traveler program check in via the JetBlue Go Places mobile app. AT&T subscribers in participating markets can join the ShopAlerts program here.

ShopAlerts arrives on the heels of location-specific mobile social networking services like foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt, which offer rewards and discounts for smartphone users who check in at participating retailers and restaurants. In late 2010, social media kingpin Facebook introduced Deals, its own geo-targeted mobile offers effort--the company said the objective is to give merchants an opportunity to push out bargains to existing customers and new customers alike, effectively translating virtual fandom into real-world revenues. Participants can offer individual deals, loyalty programs, friend-based promotions or even charitable efforts.

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