Santa Monica, California – iPhone users can now “Kick Up Their Boots”, “Throw A Bib On”, “Throw One Back”, “Look Fabulous” or even “Work Out” at their favorite places. Mergelocal is a free iPhone app that pays users cash redeemable thru PayPal for spreading word-of-mouth about businesses and events by allowing users to quickly rate, post tips and check-in with personality.

“Our core goal is to modernize word-of-mouth advertising by providing businesses and events with an easy way to reward visitors for spreading the word about their business. To achieve this mission, we’ve focused much of our effort on creating the best user experience available”, says Michael Wong, CEO and Co-Founder of Mergelocal. “The ‘fun button’ is a cool shift from the days of a bland ‘check-in’ to your social networks.”

The feature Wong describes as the ‘fun button’, which is a small red button on the Mergelocal check-in screen that says ‘fun’, uses Facebook approved actions to add personality to a user’s check-in. For example, instead of simply “checking-in” to a location, a user would “chill out” or “nom nom nom” at their favorite restaurant. These actions are then neatly organized on the users Facebook timeline. Companies like Spotify, Viddy, Turntable and Social Cam use Facebook action types to create segments on a users timeline to display what a person has done or is currently doing.

With other check-in apps that are currently on the market, a location-based post on Facebook reads like this, “Joey Johnson checked in at a local business using foursquare”. But a Mergelocal check-in looks more like this, “Rusty Jenkins is pumping iron at a Equinox using Mergelocal.”

“I’d much rather ‘Chow Down’ than ‘check in’ at my favorite restaurant – it’s not for everybody but it represents my personality and the personalities of many of our users”, Steven Elliott, CTO and Co-Founder of Mergelocal.

This is not limited to Facebook posts either. The ‘fun button’ will also add a hash tag which allows action types, like #YOLO (you only live once), to trend on Twitter. This has tremendous value for events and businesses because it draws on the entire platform to drive exposure to every check-in through Mergelocal on Twitter.

“We’re working with event organizers, businesses and users to create action types that promote trending on twitter which will help promote ticket sales during multi-day and reoccurring events”, says Rusty Jenkins, President and Co-founder of Mergelocal. “Our platform drops the barrier of entry for businesses and events to create viral social traffic by allowing the user to easily share their experiences and be rewarded for it”.

Mergelocal is seeing hundreds of daily check-ins to restaurants, health and beauty categories in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. They plan to release 100,000 restaurant, health, beauty and shopping listings on weekly basis across the country.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
* Requires iOS 4.2 or later
* 3.8 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Mergelocal 1.0.2 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Social Networking category or by visiting Mergelocal online.

Mergelocal 1.0.2
Download from iTunes
Vimeo Video
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The Mergelocal team has worked together on different projects for 6 years and have been part of 2 profitable startups (USI Technologies and TouchCommerce). MergeLocal started in Oct 2010 as a cardless loyalty program for mobile phones. The app allowed consumers to track their visits by scanning a QR code at selected merchants to receive rewards for loyalty. After 9 months we found the cost of consumer acquisition compounded with low retention did not allow for a scalable businesses. We’ve since pivoted to a model driven by our experience in the local market and feedback directly from merchants. Copyright (C) 2012 Mergelocal. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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