I recently heard two different pitches from entrepreneurs who think that the business of focusing on physical restaurant or retail check-ins--in other words, Foursquare--is old fashioned and played out. At least as a business. They're pitching start-ups that check in your transactions, using the receipts you get when you pay.
The idea is not to get you to share your financial history with the world, as Blippy did at first. That was nuts. Instead, DailyGobble and RewardLoop are loyalty programs, in which you use your receipt as a virtual box top, a proof of purchase that gets you some consideration from the business you just patronized.
What makes these two services modern and smart is the way they're designed to take the hassle and friction out of making your claims. In the case of DailyGobble, the whole check-in process is stealth, which may appeal to people who don't want to appear to their dining companions to be coupon surfers. First, you find a restaurant deal you like on the DailyGobble site or mobile app. Then you go to that restaurant and have your lovely meal. Afterward, you snap a picture of the receipt from your phone and upload it using the app. Then you get a cash payback in your PayPal account.
What you have to do when you arrive and leave the restaurant: Nothing. DailyGobble execs pitch the fact that you don't have to present "embarrassing" coupons and potentially suffer "inferior service" from waitstaff who know you're dining below normal rates. I'm not sure that's a big problem, but I do like the simplicity of the DailyGobble deal flow.
Meanwhile, the restaurant gets your business, plus some details on who you are and what you ate. DailyGobble itself gets to build a dossier on your preferences and collect a per-seating fee from the restaurants. The business is like OpenTable's, but without that service's traditional recurring fee for its restaurant customers (a newer program, OpenTable Connect, is pay-as-you-go). It's a smart update on the aggregator/loyalty program model.