Location-based social network Gowalla is teaming up with CNNMoney for Money magazine’s annual “Best Places To Live” list. The top towns on the list have their own Gowalla hot spots, which are linked to from each city profile. For instance, the top Gowalla hot spots in McKinney, Texas (No. 5) include the Landon Winery, Pub McKinney, and Coffee N Cream. If you are within 25 miles of the top 25 cities, a notification will pop up on your Gowalla mobile app directing you to the “Best Places” page.
Partnerships such as this one with big media and brands are a good way to get more exposure for geo apps like Gowalla and Foursquare (which also pursues such high-profile partnerships vigorously). The partnership also adds a mobile component to an otherwise staid—albeit popular—list of best cities.
CNNMoney is also incorporating housing data from Trulia on the Best Cities part of the site, as well as job listings from SimplyHired. People use these lists for research when they are thinking of moving, so bringing all of this data into one place is very helpful
We are still in the landgrab phase of geo-social networks. These deals raise awareness of the apps and bring in new potential users. And for media properties looking to tap into the mobile geo phenomenon, it is much faster and smarter to put up co-branded sites powered by companies like Gowalla and Trulia than to try to build their own.