FanMaker, a US company focused on creating loyalty programs for a variety of schools and sports programs such as Villanova, LSU, and the Arizona Cardinals. While Tide Loyalty Points is focused on keeping fans in the stands, other apps from FanMaker are designed to keep student athletes in class and to guide fan behavior. Not only can apps record when fans arrive and leave, it can push out friendly messages on what they should wear to the event beforehand and other messages while they are there. In addition, app users can win points to get a variety of team swag.
Loyalty programs are nothing new. However, the launch of the Alabama app comes as consumer tracking and the storage of private data is becoming more of a hot issue. The good, bad, and unclear points about this app are as follows. First the good, the app is optional – not required – for students. Second the bad. As a public school, the app is basically government sponsored surveillance — although for a sporty reason. Third, it is just not clear how or if users will turn it off. The Alabama sports website states that users can restrict the app’s access their phone’s location to only “When Using the App.” Sometimes apps collect a lot more private data than they should.
App permissions are always good to look at with installing any app — and this is no exception. The Tide Loyalty Points app does want access to a user’s phone — and the permissions are inline with that mission. It wants access to the user’s approximate location via the phone network and a more precise location via GPS and the network. However, it also asks for permission to read, modify, and delete the contents of the device SD card. In addition to wanting to run at startup, it also includes activity recognition.
So if a user is not active enough … they might be getting a message from Big Brother to cheer louder.