Pokemon Go was developed from Ingress, a similar Niantic effort that also used GPS tracking and a real-world display. In place of Pokestops and Gym Trainers, Ingress featured “Portals” that were mapped out to real-world landmarks, including random businesses. This Portal map was largely transposed over Pokemon Go’s landmark system, which has predictably resulted in these random businesses wondering why their traffic seems to have exploded overnight.
Even businesses which haven’t been automatically powered up by Niantic can easily get in on the act by using Lures. These are in-app purchases that attract Pokemon for a specified length of time and can be set down in any actual geographic location.
Some savvy business owners have reported activating games of their own and then setting lures inside the business and watching Pokemon-hunting customers come rolling in. Using lures has also proven to be an effective double whammy for businesses fortunate enough to already be designated a Pokestop or Gym Trainer or even be near one.
Of course, not everyone is delighted. One National Weather Service building, featured as a Portal in Ingress, has likewise been made a Gym in Pokemon Go, leading meteorologists to post signs asking that players power up their little monsters elsewhere.