I still remember the days when I totally ignored Foursquare. After all, I didn’t (and don’t) want people to know where I am all the time. But there’s something about this platform that one just can’t ignore. With me, it was basically wanting to be the mayor of certain locations, lording it over my grand total of 3 friends. There is still that feeling of not wanting people to always know where I am, but I have to admit that I have fallen for Foursquare hook, line, and sinker.
With its userbase already reaching 1 million this week, coming from a 170,000 membership during the last quarter of 2009, there’s no doubt Foursquare is the hottest and fastest growing location-based social networking service right now. With 20 employees running it, it is not so surprising that talks are already popping out regarding possible sell-out.
And if you’re still doubting whether Foursquare is hot right now, what if we tell you who the rumored buyers are. Well, some of the major players who are reportedly eyeing Foursquare include Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook. Yahoo was rumored to be willing to buy Foursquare for $100 million. Now, the question is not whether Foursquare will sell out, but rather should Foursquare sell out?
I don’t think so. And here are 3 reasons why Foursquare should not sell out.
1. Location-based social networking is hot and still growing
Both three major social media players namely, Google, Twitter and Facebook are gradually exploring the location-based social media sphere. Google is slowly evolving its Buzz service to have the same cool features as Foursquare. Twitter has activated geolocation of tweets and Facebook has been trying out these feature as well. As for Foursquare, it’s the very essence of its existence – location aware social sharing and networking. Foursquare just need to ponder on why the three major players are wanting to have Foursquare feature’s to understand that it’s going to be the next big thing in the social media ecosystem.
2. Along with growth is the commercial revenue potential
Foursquare currently offers free advertising to small shops and restaurants as it generates revenue from selling ads business chains. It recently launched Foursquare for Business where it gives simple self-service tools that would allow business manager to cook up various kinds of special gigs that would attract customers to business establishments. This is a good start at trying to tap on a business model. Once this service goes viral and businesses spread the word out how Foursquare is helping out drive in customers, you can just imagine how big it will be for Foursquare. Location-based social networking and recommendation site has all the potentials to bring in revenue whether be it for ads or other means. And Foursquare is already ahead of the game.
Foursquare continues its quest for media hype dominance with yet another interesting feature. It just launched a new promotional gig that ties it up with Starbucks. So, on Thursday, the next time you visit a Starbucks outlet and check-in to your Foursquare account, you will be rewarded with a barista badge.
The Starbucks barista badge can be earned if you’ve checked-in to five Startbucks outlet. Although, there’s no physical reward yet is given if you earn the barista badge, I’m pretty sure Starbucks and Foursquare will come with something to give out some form of physical rewards in the future. A free tall Cappuccino perhaps for every barista badge earned? This may sound appealing for frequent Startbucks customers, but Starbucks’ Chris Bruzzo, vice president for brand, content and online said that the company is eyeing different rewards set, not just free Starbucks drinks.
This is a rather unique gig and both companies stand a chance of getting positive gains from this deal. Starbucks can use Foursquare to gather feedbacks from clients and perhaps gain new clients as well since Foursquare members can easily share their feedback to their network of friends on Foursquare.
For Foursquare, it already gained from the deal since Starbucks is planning to use the Foursquare business analytics tools that it recently launched.
So, the next time you visit a Starbucks outlet, don’t forget to check it in to your Foursquare account. You might be the first person to earn that “prestigious” barista badge.
Foursquare is really gearing up to go big time in the next couple of months perhaps. The location-based social network is all over the news the past few days. Well, what can you expect? It’s closest rival, Gowalla is also up on its feet with new features and new platforms lately.
So, for Foursquare’s latest arsenal NYT’s Bits Blog is reporting that Foursquare is about to roll out a free analytics tool and dashboard in the coming weeks. This tool will allows business establishment owners to get a grasp of information about people who are visiting their business establishments. It will also help store owners in knowing certain demographics about their reglar customers as well as learn how they could make new customers become regular ones.
In addition, the new Foursquare tool will also allow business owners gather a range of real-time data about usage, the number of Foursquare users who have “checked in”, when these people arrived, male-to-female customer ratio as well as data about the times of day where there were more visitors in their establishments. If you’re running a business establishment, this information will be very useful for decision making.
Finally, the new feature will also include a staff page for each establishments wherein employees would be able to “socialize” with customers.
Of course, to protect user privacy, such feature will be in an opt-in, opt-out feature.
Undoubtedly, location-based or location aware services, be it on the web or mobile is the next big thing to watch out for. And if you haven’t jumped into the bandwagon, you might want to check out Gowalla or FourSquare, two of the hottest location-based social networking tool which are fighting it over the right to become the market’s number 1 service.
And these two services just might officially spark up their unavoidable rivalry at the upcoming SXSWi 2010 gig next week. Both FourSquare and Gowalla are said to be bringing more innovative features in the said event.
I actually have both, and several of them. I have FourSquare on my iPhone and BlackBerry Bold while Gowalla both sits on my iPhone and Google Nexus One phone. But I don’t get to use them that much since there are very few people in my area who uses these applications.
In terms of features, Gowalla recently revamped its Passport pages by using Big icons to show places you’ve visited. It is also now easier to spot if you’ve got new friend requests. Design-wise, Gowalla has also made some improvements, specifically eliminating the prevalent dark green hues of its interface and replacing it with a light green look. Overall, Gowalla is ahead of its competitor, FourSquare in the looks department.
If FourSquare is lacking on the looks department, it is however prepping up some functionality enhancement. One of these is the “categories” element to plaes. This new feature simply lets you put places you’ve visited into various categories to make browsing easier.
Of course, these two location-aware services would only thrive if you are using them. So, which side are you taking? Have you used either of the two on your mobile devices?