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AT&T Texting Users Location-Based Shopping Deals with ShopAlerts

shop alertsAT&T has launched a new service called ShopAlerts, which sends promotional text messages to subscribers who are near certain retailers. According to The New York Times, AT&T is now the first American carrier to push location-based ads via text messages. The free service will soon be available for subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

The technology AT&T uses to determine a subscriber's location is called geo-fencing, developed by Placecast. Basically, a virtual "fence" is placed around locations of retailers who partner with AT&T. So, whenever a subscriber who has opted to receive ShopAlerts enters this designated area, he or she will receive a text message about a nearby special deal from companies like Hewlett-Packard, Kmart, JetBlue or S.C. Johnson. (Expect more companies to sign up if the program is successful.) The idea is that shoppers are more likely to buy, for example, a product if they're notified of a deal while they're one block away from a store, rather than while they're sitting on the couch in their underwear.

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