GetGlue Exposed: Why They Really Want You To Use Their Service

We’ve all heard of Foursquare by now.  It’s the app that lets you check in to places around town to let your family, friends, and other followers know WHERE you’ve been.  But, what about an app specifically designed to let people know WHAT you’re watching, listening to, or reading?

That’s where GetGlue comes in.

If you’re an avid user of Foursquare, you notice that GetGlue is basically the same concept.  As you check-in or “like” various types of media, you earn stickers to display your affection for certain shows, music, or books.  You’ll also receive points and rewards from various media companies based on the types of things you’re most interested in.

The company is certainly growing fast, and they’ve got organizations with deep pockets backing them.

It’s not hard to imagine that the information that GetGlue could potentially compile would be considered highly valuable to media companies.  That’s why you’ll notice that Time Warner Investments is has a major stake in the company.  Time Warner is the world’s largest media company, and if you’re watching a television station, reading a magazine, or visiting a major media website, there’s a good chance that they own at least a piece of it.  If they can pinpoint exactly what people are watching the most in real-time, it means more cash in their pockets.

I’m sure GetGlue began with the user in mind like most social media startups out there, but you can definitely feel the corporate greasiness creeping in.

For example, on the homepage there’s a section where you can get free stickers.  Of course, the majority of the free stickers are for shows from stations like TBS and HBO, both of which are owned by Time Warner.  Many other media companies are striking up deals with GetGlue, but Time Warner is obviously the biggest contributor financially.

The foundation of any successful social media platform is the fact that they were designed to ultimately benefit the user, not a corporation.  Sure, the companies like Facebook and Twitter have profited greatly from the services they provide, but it comes from the result of creating a product that is designed to enhance the lives of the people using it.  As you begin to use GetGlue, you’ll start to get a sense that it really isn’t about you, but more about promoting television shows, movies, etc.

Unfortunately, it’s likely that we will begin to see more of this as social media continues to skyrocket in popularity.  Corporations like Time Warner stand to make huge profits by tapping into the information that real-time check-ins, likes, and comments can provide.  The good news is that there are still developers out there that are creating products purely for the fact that they will positively impact people’s lives, and not for the sake of cashing a huge buyout check from a media company.  We’ll know them when we see them.