New Black Friday twist: 'Check in' and save big

By Laurie Segall, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Major retailers are entering the location game, offering users discounts for "checking in" on location based services like Facebook Places, Foursquare, and Gowalla during the busiest shopping day of the year.

For those braving the Black Friday crowds, here are some of the best deals when using location based mobile apps.

Location based service Gowalla is surprising a number of users who check-in at malls and discount stores around the country with a $50 dollar Amazon.com (AMZN, Fortune 500) gift code. When users check-in through Gowalla on Black Friday, a number of them will receive the gift code.

In 1,500 stores around the country, Toys R Us is offering a 15% discount for purchases over $150 to the first 3,000 people to check-in on Facebook Places, Foursquare, and Yelp.

RadioShack (RSH, Fortune 500) is offering a number of discounts for checking in on Foursquare. Users receive 10% for checking in, 15% if they're the mayor, and 20% for unlocking the "Holiday Hero" Badge.

After recently displaying an ad featuring Foursquare founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, the Gap (GPS, Fortune 500) just announced a Black Friday deal: users who check in receive 30% off any item.

Sports Authority is also in on the action. The sporting goods store will randomly select 20 users who push their Foursquare check-ins to Twitter between 10am and 3pm EST to receive a $500 dollar gift card.

Clothing retailers H&M and JCPenney (JCP, Fortune 500) are offering virtual coupons to users who check-in on Facebook Places and Foursquare. Check in to H&M on one of the mobile apps and receive 20% off purchases, and check in to JCPenney and receive $10 dollars off purchases of $50 dollars or more.

Even Sin City is in on the action. Guests who check in to the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on Facebook Places are invited to extend their stay for an extra night with no additional cost. If unable to stay an extra day, they'll get a room upgrade.

In the spirit of giving, some major retailers are also donating money to various causes as customers check-in on Black Friday.

When 5,000 people check into Old Navy on Facebook Places, the Gap-owned retailer will give 100 minutes of free phone calls to troops, so they're able to call home for the holidays.

North Face is donating a dollar to the National Park Foundation for every Facebook Places check-in and REI is donating up to $100,000 to nonprofits supporting local conservation efforts every time a user checks in on the service.  To top of page

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