Well, isn’t that a bummer. After the bonus of adding new Ingress badges, there was the slight let down of a mass portal removal.
Until this week, all Jamba Juices, regardless of location or significance, were portals inside of Ingress. Even Jamba Juice locations that had moved or gone out of business were frequently still on the map. But, earlier this week, all of the Jamba Juice portals just vanished. It would seem that the good folks at Jamba Juice decided that having multiple people stand outside of their stores hacking portals and building links wasn’t a useful add-on to their business after all. My guess is that they did not renew their promotional agreement with Niantic and so their portals were removed. I doubt they’ll see much drop in traffic.
If Niantic wants to use partnerships to help fund Ingress, it will probably need to be a little more creative or involved in the process. One could imagine if everyone of those Jamba Juice locations had a sign in the window offering a discount if you showed them your scanner, that might have increased sales and visits. Or, if like the Hint Water out there, if Jamba Juice offered cards with passcodes on them free to anyone who requested them, with any purchase, of course.
Just being a portal isn’t likely to be worthwhile to anyone, unless the location is one that would be a great hit, if only you could draw traffic to it. Out of the way museums, or tourist attractions would fit this bill. Of course, they could qualify as portals for free, so again without some sort of additional incentive, one could see why this scheme is failing.
What would be really great would be a way that you could, non-intrusively, offer a deal or special when your portal was hacked. Not a pop-up, or something that would interrupt the game, but a COMM message offering buy one get one free burritos might really be something that would work. Or, maybe something like, “Hey it’s freezing out there. How about a cup of coffee, free with purchase of a sandwich?”
For now, of course, these monetization offers are nothing more than alpha tests of a concept. All of Niantic’s money currently comes from Google, who has a history of funding things like this knowing that maybe the knowledge gained over the long-term is more valuable than a few million bucks.
For those of you using a Jamba Juice location as your Guardian Portal, my condolences.