Check in at the Sandbar on Gowalla

Last spring we set up the Sandbar on Whrrl and Foursquare, two location-based social networs that allow you to check in, share your location and find friends. We added "specials" that allowed users to get free jukebox credits when they checked in and showed their status to the bartender.

Now, we've added a third network: Gowalla. It's similar to the others, with one big difference: the network was co-founded by an alumnus of KU. Which makes it a big deal in our opinion. And he's been to the Sandbar. Check out the picture he uploaded to our spot on Gowalla.

If you check in to the Sandbar on Gowalla, you'll get this nice friendly welcome message:

Once you check in, show this message to the bartender and they'll load five free credits on the jukebox for you. This offer is only valid before 9 p.m., any day of the week.

You can find our spot on Gowalla here.

Another reason we like Gowalla: the AP Top 25/Gowalla Check In Challenge. The contest encourages fans to check in to five designated locations on their college campuses, and at the end of the regular football season the school with the most points will earn a $10,000 donation to their general scholarship fund. You can also win random prizes like MacBook Airs and iPods, just for checking in.

KU is pretty far behind in the standings right now, but you can help! Use Gowalla to check in at the University, Allen Fieldhouse, Memorial Stadium, the Campanile or the Kansas Union and you'll earn a point. Send your check-in to Twitter or Facebook and you'll earn five more. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Old-School Checkins

If you follow any kind of social media, you've probably heard about "checking in" and location-based social networks. Maybe you've even been teased by your friends about being the "mayor" of a location in town (yes, I speak from experience).

But back in the days when Foursquare was still a playground game with a bouncy red ball, and Yelp was something you did when you hit your funny bone on the desk, people were checking in to The Sandbar in a decidedly old-fashioned way.

Dave and Peach long ago figured out that the way to attract more customers was to first attract the ladies; the men would soon follow. They came up with a game to encourage the girls to come in and stay awhile, and one that would reward them for time well spent.

They set up an old time clock near the door and created time cards for regular female customers; upon arrival, the ladies would punch in at the time clock, and punch out when they left. After accumulating a certain amount of time at the bar, the girls could pick out gift shop merchandise like t-shirts as a prize.

I honestly don't remember this gimmick- so either it was pre-1996, or I wasn't cool enough to have a time card. Dave doesn't remember how long it lasted, but it was fun to hear about an old-school style promotion.

Of course, now Dave and Peach think it would be funny to bring it back, since I've been trying to sell them on the idea of offering incentives to customers who check in or become mayor on a social network like Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrrl, or Yelp. 

Thoughts? How many of you use a location-based social network? Or would you rather punch a time clock?