Migrate if you like, but Touristeye is not a Gowalla partner.

RECENTLY A COMPANY CALLED Touristeye has been emailing Gowalla users, encouraging them to migrate their data to Touristeye now that the Gowalla service is closing down. The emails tell you how a Gowalla friend (who is named) has just migrated her/his data to Touristeye and invite you to join her or him. Although Touristeye does not claim to be a Gowalla partner, there is a strong implication that the migration is seamless and that it was authorized by Gowalla. Not so.

Gowalla has not created a migration tool for Touristeye or released any migration tool as yet; the Austin-based check-in tool has no affiliation with Touristeye, and did not authorize Touristeye to reach out to Gowalla customers.

I can’t fault Touristeye for trying to increase its customer base by reaching out to the abandoned Gowalla community, and I have no opinion on Touristeye’s service, as I haven’t tried it. If Touristeye appeals to you, by all means check it out. Personally, I have replaced my Gowalla fix with (yes, four) four apps: Foursquare (for social check-ins and tips about places), Instagram (for photos and seamless Foursquare integration), Path (for the aesthetic rush I miss), and Facebook (because my people who don’t know from Foursquare, Instagram, and Path are there; and Facebook’s new Timeline even makes it fun).

An official Gowalla migration tool is coming is coming soon.

13 thoughts on “Migrate if you like, but Touristeye is not a Gowalla partner.

  1. Hi again Jeffrey,

    Thanks for the reference. I’d like to clarify some points of your post:

    – When a Gowalla user migrates he/she can decide to tell his friend about TouristEye and his/her friends. If so, we email them. If not, we don’t. That means that we are not mailing every Gowalla user, as the first phrase of your post seems to say. It’s important that difference! Also, we only email a user once, no matter how many of his friends are migrating.

    – In the email we clearly say:

    You will NOT receive any more emails, despite the number of friends that migrate and invite you to do it. TouritEye is not related to Gowalla nor Facebook. This email has been sent by one of your contacts in Gowalla.

    – We are a travel guide app, we are right now helping more than 65k travelers around the world. Our mobile app is very good when you are traveling because you have everything offline including maps. We take into account your rates to recommend you destinations, attractions and restaurants for your trips. You should check it out on your trips. I’d love to know your opinion to keep improving.

    You can read more about our algorithm on how we create automatically the trips for users on HackerNews: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3340554

    thanks!

  2. When a Gowalla user migrates he/she can decide to tell his friend about TouristEye and his/her friends. If so, we email them. If not, we don’t. That means that we are not mailing every Gowalla user, as the first phrase of your post seems to say. It’s important that difference! Also, we only email a user once, no matter how many of his friends are migrating.

    I’m curious… is “send to friends” selected by default?

  3. But seriously: I got one of these emails and it bugged me a bit. The concern I had was HOW TouristEye got my email address.

    I don’t believe Gowalla includes email address in its API (and if it does, that a huge issue). Did my friend enter my email address? Did Gowalla sell them my email address?did TouristEye get my address through some other shady means?

    I don’t really mind getting the email, but I really wish it had explained how TouristEye got my address.

  4. @Jeff Croft: Gowalla’s API does indeed publish email addresses of your friends. Once you’ve accepted a person as a friend, you can both see one another’s email address.

  5. @jeffrey It’s true that there was an error on the way we were controlling the number of email invitations; we fixed it last Monday. On your case you received 5 emails last Monday, and I’m sorry. It shouldn’t have happened. From that day, gowalla friends only receive one.

    @Travis yes, it’s activated by default. It’s just above the button to save your TouristEye profile, and it has a clear message. So we are not hiding it, although it’s true that we are activating it by default as there isn’t so much time before Gowalla closes with all the user checkins.

    @Jeff, yes, the API returns the emails.

  6. @Aaron: Thanks. And yikes. That seems surprisingly sketchy for a company I’d come to love and trust like Gowalla. Oh well. Guess it won’t matter anymore soon (whenever they shut their API down). Frankly, I’m now surprised TouristEye was the first to take advantage of this, and I kind of which I hadn’t pointed it out to more people here.

  7. Josh Williams (Gowalla founder) has told me via Twitter that the API should definitely not be returning email addresses, and that they’re investigating the problem.

  8. As I’ve just said to Josh via Twitter, we have stopped those emails listening to the feedback. We don’t want to upset or piss off anyone; we just want to help Gowalla users and promote a bit our service.

    @Jeff yeah, in fact, the situation is much worse. We are nice guys that we don’t want to do any harm (despite the bugs in our email delivery system). But it’s possible to get the emails from all the Gowalla users (2M ?¿) without doing any special hacking…

  9. @Jeff For what;s it’s worth, you can do the same with Foursquare and more. I think Gowalla’s API limitations on email fetching are tighter than Foursquare’s.

  10. Hey guys
    Thought i would chime in as we just took a road trip from Jacksonville Florida hugging the east coast to New York, we used touristeye for the whole trip and in general followed all their recommendations including a cool hotel in Charleston,south carolina called Charleston Place. By far a better experience than our last roadtrip from Austin to Seattle where we just relied on a map and what looked good from the street regarding hotels and restaurants. Of course there were some better experiences than others but i have to say the baseline was high and i would definitely use it for a road trip again.

    Onwards and Upwards for 2012 Fellas!

Comments are closed.