Two recent pieces highlighting the benefits of Dopplr for frequent travellers. David Kirkpatrick, senior editor at Fortune, features Dopplr alongside LinkedIn and Facebook in "Web 2.0 gets down to business: Business people find ways to save time and make money from social software pioneered by their kids" in both the print and online editions:
J.P. Rangaswami, who oversees 4,000 people as a managing director at BT, has become a heavy user of this tool for sharing travel itineraries. (He also has 500 friends in Facebook and follows 300 on Twitter.) Before Dopplr, which launched last December, it took repeated e-mails to keep contacts informed of his whereabouts. Now his 140 Dopplr contacts know where he is at any moment.
"You can really optimize your time when traveling," says Rangaswami. One Dopplr friend recently saw he was going to Dublin and out of the blue recommended a good Indian restaurant.
Dick O'Neill, a former Pentagon strategist who now runs a think tank called the Highlands Forum, tracks about 115 mostly professional friends on Dopplr, even when he's not traveling.
"My business is about new ideas," he says. "I want to know when colleagues come to town because I need to keep up with what they're thinking."
And Esther Dyson writes in a column in The Wall Street Journal "The Coming Ad Revolution" about Dopplr and the business models of social networks, in the print and online editions:
Look at Dopplr (where I plan to become an investor), a site for travelers. I list my trips, and see how they intersect with my friends' itineraries. "Oh, we'll both be in London April 4? Let's get together!" Or, "Juan and Alice will be in town next Tuesday. Let's hold a dinner!" You can imagine or visit equivalent approaches for books (a hypothetical Amazon 2.0, new and more personalized), clothes (Glam.com and Stardoll.com), and even money management.
So what's the business model? I'll "friend" British Airways, which will say, "We see you're going to Moscow next month. Why not fly through London and we'll give you 10,000 extra miles?" I'm no longer in a bucket of frequent travelers, my privacy protected. I'm an individual with specific travel plans, which I intentionally make visible to preferred vendors. British Airways, of course, will pay Dopplr a handsome sponsorship fee to be eligible to be my "friend" (just as a Nike rep might pay to sponsor a basketball game and be part of the community). Someday NetJets may show up, offering to ferry me and my friends to a conference we'll be attending together.
I'm far more likely to respond to BA or NetJets within a trusted site, and for a specific offer, than I am to heed their ad while reading a newspaper article on the troubles in Russia. (As for Orbitz, my old standby: After five years, it still doesn't acknowledge my preferred airlines.)
The new model creates a more trusted environment for reaching high-value, frequent purchasers, whether of airline tickets, electronics, clothes or other items. Where does that leave the less-frequent purchasers? Probably looking to their friends rather than to advertising for advice. I'm an expert on travel; my friends may look to me for hotel choices. When I'm in the mood to buy a book or a new computer, I'll check out what my friends on Facebook are doing.
This does not mean that traditional online advertising will go away, just that it will become less effective. Value is being created in users' own walled gardens, which they will cultivate for themselves in real estate owned by the social networks. The new value creators are companies -- like Facebook and Dopplr -- that know how to build and support online communities.
For more press coverage of Dopplr check the press section at Dopplr.com.