Yelp is the latest to offer rewards for check-ins

Yelp check inThe check-in has made its way to Yelp, as the site announced it will offer discounts to its “dukes” and “duchesses” for their customer loyalty. Now available on Yelp’s free smartphone app, the feature grants users location-based rewards.

Yelpers have been able to check-in using the app for awhile now, and of course write reviews of restaurants and retailers as well. In fact, Yelp’s identity is primarily as a user-review site, where you can see how friends and community members rank places. The site experienced backlash and legal issues last year when it was accused of tampering with reviews for compensation. After doing its best to win back user confidence, Yelp seemed to stick with its’ locate and review formula. But with the emergence of the location trend, such a thing sounds almost antiquated.

It seems like the best way to stay relevant in this developing genre is now based on offering the ability to log location and be compensated for it. Facebook Deals, Foursquare, and Gowalla all seem to have recognized the lure of the check-in reward, and how it will benefit consumers and businesses alike.

While it sounds like this trend is gaining steam, there are some discouraging numbers to consider. A recent Pew Research survey found that only 4 percent of adults use “geosocial” services. Still, company’s seem to have faith in the geosocial future, and even though it’s a little late to the party, Yelp’s now officially on board. Right in time, too, as these sites are gearing up for a big push this holiday shopping season. Sites like Foursquare and SCVNGR are partnering with big names like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, and be ready to see signs encouraging you to check-in for rewards outside national retailers like Wal-Mart. If these companies campaigns are successful over the next month, we could be seeing a true takeoff for geosocial services.