FT. LAUDERDALE, FL -- Patrons can pay for a bag of chips in a vending machine or a videogame through Twitter or Facebook in equipment fitted with new technology from a company called FanWise LLC. Posting to Facebook or Twitter provides the consumer with a cash value in return for their update that can be used to buy goods instantly at FanWise-equipped machines.
The plug-and-play FanWise unit can be installed in any MDB-compliant machine. It connects via the multi-drop bus chain, and interfaces using the MDB 3.0 standard.
The cash for the "cashless vending" is provided by brands that sponsor the social media message and harvest the social impressions from FanWise. The company reimburses the operator the price of the goods plus a 5¢ commission for the transaction.
"We offer vending operators the opportunity to upgrade their machines to enable customers to pay with a Tweet or Facebook post," FanWise president Brett Circe explained. "This is important because now consumers can enjoy a new cashless payment solution -- and it's not one they need to learn."
Circe emphasized that FanWise is not social media advertising. The technology only works with preloaded and approved social messages. So, whatever the operator or the brand wants to promote on social media is the message the consumer must tweet or post for the credit.
Brands can use these messages to promote a hashtag, to get a hashtag to "trend," or to promote an event to drive attendance. Operators can promote their own locations or specific machines to generate more business.
FanWise plans to roll out its social media technology to the markets most sought after by major advertising brands. These include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, as well as Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Phoenix, Seattle-Tacoma, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Fanwise LLC is owned by Starmark International Inc., a 35-year-old advertising and marketing firm headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The company said it has patents pending for this new mobile technology for both hardware and software applications.