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SES Chicago 2009 Interview with Yelp’s Colleen Curtis

November 19th, 2009 | 5 Comments | Posted in Interviews


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Yesterday, Barg Upender stopped by the Shindig to give his thoughts on Augmented Reality (AR) apps.  Up next, Colleen Curtis, the Midwest Regional Director at Yelp, an extremely popular user review and local business search website.  To get everyone excited for the industry leading global conference on SEM/SEO, SES Chicago 2009, I am interviewing a couple panelists from the “Cool Mobile Apps, Augmented Reality – It’s a Brave New World” session on Day 2.   For those unfamiliar with Augmented Reality (AR) apps, AR apps combine virtual data in the real world.  Think of how a GPS app works on your iPhone.  Let’s get on with some mind blowing questions and get Colleen’s thoughts.

Marketing Shindig: On Day 2 of SES Chicago 2009, you will be speaking on the panel for “Cool Mobile Apps – Augmented Reality, It’s a Brave New World”, can you give the readers of Marketing Shindig a high level preview of what to expect from the panel? Do you have one key message you hope attendees will remember, kind of that oomph or “ta-daa” to your session?

Colleen Curtis: If this is your first time hearing about Yelp, be sure to check out Yelp.com.  I’ve heard stories of people who have downloaded our iPhone app, and didn’t realize that the site came first!  Imagine their surprise when they came across the site!

Marketing Shindig:  Incredible, that goes to show how influential and how integrated apps have become in today’s society. As everyone has heard by now, there’s an app for pretty much everything.  However, there’s a new “generation” of mobile apps that is quickly growing, which are AR apps.  What do you think is the future of such apps and what can we expect?

Colleen Curtis:  Some day we’ll be able to point our mobile device at a building and learn everything about it without having to key in all the address, the name of a business, etc.  No more keying in your address or browsing around on multiple pages to find information.  It’ll all be right there on your display.  It’ll be awesome.

Marketing Shindig: One of the most talked about headlines the past couple weeks was Google’s purchase of AdMob, a provider of mobile ad technologies, for a cool $750 million in stock.  I’d love to get your thoughts on this acquisition and how, if at all, it will affect the (AR) mobile apps arena.

Colleen Curtis:  Hi, I’m Colleen, regional marketing director for Yelp.  For expert opinion on mobile advertising and the future of augmented reality – please press 3.

Marketing Shindig: Haha.  Let’s go to the next question.  How do you feel AR apps changed user engagement with products and services?

Colleen Curtis:  Seriously speaking, I’m not an AR expert, but with an app like Monocle, you can see how data like location and reviews really come together in a natural and powerful way with AR.

Marketing Shindig: Can you give us an estimation of the number of users you have reached so far and usage patterns you are noticing?

Colleen Curtis:  Our iPhone usage has seen really steady growth!  We had more than 1 million unique visits from the device in October.

Marketing Shindig: Quick! Please give us your top augmented reality mobile apps that you cannot live without or just find to be damn interesting.

Colleen Curtis:  To be honest with you, I just got my iPhone 3GS this week, so I can demo it at your show [SES Chicago 2009].  And well what can I say?  I’ve been too busy showing off monocle to spend time doing anything else.  I’m sure once the new, shiny shiny wears off…I’ll be toying around with other apps.  Maybe.

Marketing Shindig: And with that, the interview comes to a close.  Special thanks to Colleen for stopping by the Shindig and providing some very insightful answers.

More About Colleen Curtis

Colleen evangelizes Yelp in the Midwest and leads a team of community managers in Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Austin, Houston, and Dallas.  After graduating from Loyola University Chicago in 2005, and a two-year stint as marketing director for a robust boutique real estate services firm, Colleen followed her passion for Chicago (and Yelp!) by signing on as the Chicago Community Manager in February of 2008.  Read all about Colleen’s most recent urban adventures at colleenyelp.yelp.com.

More About SES (Search Engine Strategies)

Search Engine Strategies is the leading global search engine marketing conference and expo series covering search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) advertising, social media, link building, keyword research, usability, and more.  Attend SES Chicago 2009 to meet with industry experts, learn the hottest tactics and strategies, network with like minded professionals, and enhance your professional development in the world of search engine marketing.

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