Mobile

Location-based social network BuzzMob launches. We’re not sure if it’s awesome, yet.

Let’s all give a warm, startup-community welcome to BuzzMob, which officially launched today. Hi, BuzzMob!

The Irvine-based company has made a mobile app, also called BuzzMob (free), for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (their Android app is in the works) that connects users by location and creates a real-time, live community.

No no, you haven’t meet them before. It might sound familiar (FoursquareLooptBrightkiteGowalla, One etc.) but this company says it’s different. BuzzMob targets users who are simultaneously attending events like baseball games, rock concerts, political rallies and conferences.

“It’s 24 hours old, and there isn’t a whole lot to look at,” says Jeff Jackel, founder and CEO of BuzzMob. We’re taking a tour of the app, noticing that there aren’t very many users yet. As you can see from the map on the right, San Francisco currently has one user. Me.

This isn’t a good sign for a social network. They should have launched during an event, like a first day back to school at a high school or professional cycling race, with everyone attending using the app. That way we could really get a feel for how BuzzMob works.

For now, we can just get the gist of it. By joining GPS-defined ‘Rings’ in the smartphone app, BuzzMobbers within the same location are connected to talk (and receive exclusive content from within a digital network… perhaps a future revenue stream). BuzzMob Rings can be set up by anyone, anywhere, and these users become Ringleaders.  Once users join the ring, they can get conversations, called ‘Buzz,’ going.

“We are targeting events with big groups of people,” says Jackel, who sounds exhausted. He and his team have been working hard on today’s launch. “BuzzMob headquarters has the biggest group of users right now.”

It’s hard to judge a product when it’s not in action. I look forward to seeing it work at a college football game or Lady Gaga concert. I can also imagine people using it in a new restaurant, to answer the question “what is she having?” What I can’t see it used for are locations larger than a  stadium. This will do best in locations with walls or other barriers.

There’s a clear time and place to use this app, which might help it thrive despite the massive amount of competition in the location-based social network scene.

If you are not at an event, you can “travel” there with BuzzMob and get a feel for the scene by reading comments and seeing pictures posted by people within the Ring. You can’t fake that you’re there, so you can’t chat along. The information gathered during these events is logged, so you can revisit past Rings in the future. Oh, and don’t call them “Circles.”

“I’m lucky that Google+ used ‘Circles,’” says Jackel. “Unlike Circles, ‘Rings’ denotes a geographic space, and it’s fortunate that the wording is different.”

Or not. Perhaps the term “Circles” would have gotten Google’s attention. Google+ would benefit from a similar feature for Google+ mobile, and BuzzMob would benefit from an early acquisition.

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