It took only a few days for Pokémon Go to become a cultural phenomenon. It's everywhere, and it's really annoying some people. For some restaurant and business owners, it's become a pain. But that pain might turn into an opportunity. Sponsored locations are likely coming to Pokémon Go, allowing businesses to become hubs for the game, and getting charged a premium for the privilege.
Niantic CEO John Hanke told the Financial Times on Wednesday that this may be coming sooner rather than later. In addition to the in-app purchases available, sponsored locations will become the booming company's second revenue stream from the game. It sounds like an invisible guiding hand pushing all the people with their face buried in the game toward favored locales, instead aimlessly around Central Park.
"There is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored locations," says Hanke. Companies "pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic." He likens the "cost per visit" model being discussed to the familiar "cost per click" model for advertising used online.