People costumed as the game's characters participate in a Pokemon Go search
Image: © Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP/Press Association Images

5 ways businesses are capitalizing on Pokémon Go

Faster internet, free wine, and even Pokédates. Niloo Sharifi takes a look at the lengths businesses are going to take advantage of Pokémania. But how long will it last?

Pokémon Go was more searched-for than porn last week. That’s how big this is. It’s no wonder businesses are trying to figure out ways to take advantage of the Poké-craze.

You know how your grandparents are always trying to get you off the couch to go climb a tree or something? Well, one of the most innovative things about this game is that your experience depends on where you are in the physical world. So for the first time, an internet-based application requires us to go outside to use it.

Enter entrepreneurial business-owners, who are responding to the fact that crowds of people are being drawn to particular spots in some seriously creative ways – here's our top five:

1. It's not just the toilets that are for paying customers only: it's Pokémon catching too

You may have seen one of the many pictures of shop signs reading ‘Pokémon for paying customers only’ that have been floating around Twitter recently.

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If Pokémon Go’s popularity persists, this could add a new dimension to the value of real estate (property prices). Reports fromusers on Reddit suggest that certain kinds of Pokémon consistently appear in the same location. If a landowner is lucky enough to find themselves in an area hosting a highly sought-after Pokémon, they could do some clever marketing around it, even introducing a fee for hardcore Pokémon fans to come on the premises. Businesses can already buy what’s called a Lure Module for just three dollars to attract more Pokémon to a chosen Pokéstop.

2. Need a ride to a Poké-catching session? Fifteen bucks please

A couple in Gainesville is offering youngsters needing a ride to a Pokemon Go hotspot an hour's driving, complete with chargers and water bottles in the backseat, for $15 an hour. And the best part: they're using the funds they raise to pay for their upcoming wedding. Now, we're not going to condone getting into cars with strangers, and urge all our readers to take precaution... but that's pretty cute.

3. Poké-sushi, Poké-wine, Poké-wifi... the works

Shops are going to all sorts of lengths to cram a Pokémon link into their advertising, some more questionable than others. But hey, if it means free wine, discount sushi and faster internet, we’re not complaining.

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4. Bored of playing, but don't want to damage your score? Hire a Pokécatcher

Too busy to actually play Pokémon Go yourself? Never fear – a besPoké (sorry, we couldn't resist) Pokémon catching service is now available near you, with willing individuals walking around to induce the hatching of eggs for a fee. There are even websites designed to use data mapping systems to assist you in finding the nearest Pokémon. Or if you can’t even be bothered to do that, just head straight over to eBay to join the auctioning of accounts holding rare Pokémon… as long as you’re willing to spend a few grand.

5. And finally, PokéDates: because it's Friday night, and you've forgotten how to socialize with anyone who doesn't play Pokémon Go

'Answer a few questions, share your schedule, confirm your PokéDate, and catch 'em all, together!' What else is there to say? 💗

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Whether these enterprises have any real chance of succeeding remains to be seen: it depends on whether Pokémon Go is here to stay, or turns out to be just another fad.

This graph shows what usually happens with products like this – known as a ‘hype cycle’, there’s a ‘peak of inflated expectations’ followed by a depressingly named ‘trough of disillusionment’ as people start getting bored. Basically, as long as we keep playing, they keep profiting: and as soon as we find something new to play with, they shut down, or innovate to match our next craze. It's a good example of how much  without even realizing it.

And hey – it could be that Pokemon Go just becomes an accepted part of people's lives from here on out, in which case it'll reach a 'plateau of productivity' – but if you think about the last time you pulled out your Tamagotchi, we can't be too sure of how long this fad will last.

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Image: © 2016 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates

Just make sure you squeeze in a Poké-date before it’s too late.

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