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Everyone is in a race to become Mayor of their local Starbucks on Foursquare these days. The geo-location phenomenon has been heating up as businesses offer badges, titles like Dutchess, Mayor, and Founder, coupons and deals in exchange for check-ins. All of which amount to incentive to cheat the system. Check-in applications like check.in are springing up, allowing users the ability to check in to multiple apps at once, and also making it easier for cheaters to prosper. Cheating, often in the form of drive by check-ins has become such a problem that FourSquare has recently added a feature that allows business owners to kick cheating Mayors out of office.

The stakes are rising; the latest trend in geo-location marketing is in rewarding users with more than just discounts and deals, but with anything from stickers to electronics and even cold hard cash. That’s right folks, the latest brainstorm from IZEA Innovation, the same company to bring us social media sponsorship applications like SocialSpark and SponsoredTweets has entered the geo-location space with WeReward.

WeReward launched at TechCrunch’s Disrupt earlier this year and allows users to earn cash for check-ins and tasks. Like other geo-location applications, WeReward loads a list of nearby businesses that users can check into. Each location has a number of points associated with it, users earn points as they check in and each point is worth $.01. Users can then cash out their accumulated points via PayPal.

Cash rewards for checking in and eating at my favorite restaurants, cool stuff right. But you’re probably wondering how this benefits business owners. Well these aren’t you’re usual vanilla check-ins. Users have to complete an action in order to claim their reward. Business owners just need to set the rules for the claim as something that requires a purchase.

Take Chick-Fil-A for example, they’ve set the rules for their claim as a picture of a user eating a spicy chicken sandwich or Chick-Fil-A nuggets. In order for the user to cash in on their points, they’ve got to buy one of these items and prove that they made the purchase.

I don’t need my favorite coffee shop to pay me a few pennies to keep my business, they’ve already snagged me, but I might try something new if I were rewarded in this manner. Can businesses really increase market share with bribery?

I think it’s worth a shot for many businesses, especially those in the restaurant space. I just hope those cheaters don’t start snapping pictures of me while I’m eating so they can get their $.40 without making a purchase!

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