Viggle: Where I Actually Got Something for Checking In

A year or two back I posted on my company’s blog about why I quit FourSquare. It boils down to the simple fact that I wasn’t getting anything of value for constantly checking into places. Same thing with GetGlue and just about any other check-in app I’ve used. It’s fun to get badges and little cutesy titles for a while, but it gets old very quickly.

Which is why I was intrigued by Viggle when Access started working with them.

Viggle 001

The premise: You pop open Viggle on your phone or tablet while watching TV, and let it listen to what you’re watching. It’ll recognize the show and allow you to check in. Every time you check in, you earn points, which can be redeemed for actual prizes.

Not badges or titles. Actual stuff people want and can use. Like gift cards, deals, t-shirts. I love t-shirts.

I can vouch personally. I saved up about 65,000 points over the course of around 6 months (the typical point total for an hour-long show is around 100-200) and traded in 62,000 for a $25 gift card at Best Buy.

Let me emphasize that point: this isn’t like the “Free iPad” posts your crazy aunt posts on Facebook in between her Obama rants and Kenny Loggins Jesus pics. Viggle is 100% legitimate. And it kicks ass.

Here’s a few reasons why I think this app has a bright future:

  1. It gives me (and every other user) a reason to watch live TV, which I almost never do.
  2. It incentivizes me to tune in to shows I never would otherwise (such as Nashville. I made it 6 minutes before stabbing myself.) This happens because Viggle offers extra points for checking into certain “featured” shows
  3. It keeps me from turning the channel (unless I’m watching Nashville.) This happens because Viggle offers in-show features such as trivia games and the “MyGuy” fantasy-style game during sporting events that actually require me to stick with the show and play along to earn extra points.

    Example of a featured show on Viggle. This is fashion show starring PitBull. PitBull keeps getting nice things, somehow!

    Example of a featured show on Viggle. This is fashion show starring PitBull. PitBull keeps getting nice things, somehow!

  4. It has rewards. Actual rewards.

There are some downsides. Viggle doesn’t pick up certain channels, and only recognizes your DVR’d shows within a day or two of the original airing. Viggle has limits on the amount of points you can earn, but they fall well within limits of normal human TV habits. It’ll take you a while to earn something, but that’s okay because you also checked in to that Waffle House for over a year to become mayor, and that put absolutely zero into your pocket.

The only other drawback is they need to expand their rewards options, but I think that’s coming soon.

It’s free and worth a try, so why not give it a whirl?

The Good, the Bad, the Expected

Let me tell you about a couple different experiences I had with businesses over the past week. One terrible, one good. And by good, I had the experience I expected.

The Bad

tirefireI went to Big O Tires in West Valley City, Utah, to get my car inspected and tag renewed. This normally takes 10 minutes at autoshops, and I was told it would only take that long at Big O. 30 minutes into my visit my car hasn’t moved and I’m standing at the counter watching the attendant on the phone. Not talking on the phone, just holding it to her ear. I sat back down and waited, because I can’t stand confrontation and assumed my car was next in line.

20 minutes after that I’m standing in front of the counter while a couple of bros munch on some Taco Bell at each of the cash registers, talkin’ bout cars and the Super Bowl. Curious how long until they’d acknowledge me, I stood there and stared at them. After about 5 minutes, I said “Excuse me” and they reacted as if I’d interrupted the birth of a child or something.

“WHAT?!” they blurted.

I asked for my keys back, and as I was walking out the door the lady who was no longer with her phone says “We had a stall in one of the bays.”

Great to know. A piss poor experience on every level.

The Expected

Today I went to another shop, Performance Emissions and Inspections. I walked out in five minutes with my car inspected. I didn’t get a cheerful reception and I’m not thrilled with the price, but I had the experience I expected. This is a BIG DAMN DEAL these days. I’ll go back to these guys again.

Look, I wanted simple car service. I don’t think any reasonable person in the world expects much from car service: be honest, be fair. Unlike the grocery store, or a hair salon, I’m not looking for smiles and candy canes. just fix my damn car. When I’m standing at the counter, take a few moments to pause the Taco Bell grunting to acknowledge me. Don’t choke on your Doritos Loco taco when I ask for something.

People have asked why I didn’t say anything to the Big O people. I can’t stand confrontation, especially with strangers. I’m quite content to walk away and spend my money elsewhere (and in really crusty cases like this, blog.) I believe there are a lot of you out there who would do the same.

It comes down to this: know your expectations and surpass them. If you can’t surpass them, ensure you’re excellent at the bare minimum, which is to give people exactly what they expect when walking in your door. If you can’t deliver that, in a social media-driven world where opinions can spread like wildfire, then you can expect to close up shop soon.

Subversive Content: Trust Me, I’m Lying

trust-me-im-lyingMy origins are in public relations, and PR still makes up a significant portion of what I do these days. You could probably call me a content marketer, a phrase for people like me who manage PR, social media, copywriting and anything else that drops into our bucket.

When I started in PR, for an NBA franchise, my mission was fairly straightforward: work with the media to make sure the team was always portrayed in a positive light. I would want a player covered in a particular magazine, and I would have a conversation with an editor to sell him on the idea, as an example.

As I progressed, I learned I could accomplish more by moving outside the traditional “pitch and sell” method of media relations. Some of it I picked up from my boss, like reminding a local writer that the team bought a lot of ads in their paper. Some of it I learned myself, such as leaking pieces of information to create a favor debt that I could cash in on later, or having the team mascot show up at some kid’s birthday party. [Read more...]