Out of nowhere Pokemon GO has dominated both the App Store for iPhone and the Google Play store for Android phones. Gamers have taken to the streets wandering Google Maps locations to look for virtual pocket monsters, and many businesses are reaping the benefits if they were lucky enough to be a “Pokestop” in this hit new game.
But what if your business isn’t near a Pokestop? Are you out of luck?
Niantic, the company that developed Pokemon GO, has released a request form to add Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms to the Pokemon GO game world. That said, they are seeing tens of thousands of submissions from folks wanting a more convenient stop near them, and from other businesses wanting to bring in foot traffic. It could be quite a wait.
Where did these existing Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms come from and why was your business not included on this list?
The answer goes back several years to Niantic’s earlier game called Ingress, which shares a lot of base functionality with it’s younger sibling Pokemon GO.
In Ingress players would also use their phones and their GPS to scout “portals” and up until August of 2015 you could still hold down your finger on the map to create a “submit a location” request in Ingress. This used to take about 3 weeks for them to process and if they liked your submission a new “Ingress Portal” would be created.
Those same portals are now the Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms in Pokemon GO.
So this is one of those few situations where you had to know about a thing before it was valuable to you to be able to benefit. The feature to add new “portal” locations has literally been closed for eleven months already, so even hopping locations like Geekdom were not submitted and thus they are absent from the map.
So it may take some time for The Pokemon Company and Niantic to respond to all the requests to add new locations – my personal guess would be 2-3 months easily – but if you submit now you’ll potentially be able to add your location to the Pokemon GO world and reap the benefits of the added foot traffic.
Alternatively, if you really hate all these Pokemon players coming around your location and you want to be removed from the game map, or if you find a Pokestop or Gym that is not in a safe area, you can also use the same form to request that a Pokestop be removed from the game world.