Tag Archives: Foursquare

If you can’t buy them for $6b…try to beat them!

On the heels of the new Google social bonus structure, it appears that Latitude (Google’s answer to Foursquare and Groupon) will integrate local deals with the check in options. The fact that Google was slow to game with this feature – Foursquare bolstered their deal function earlier this year – reinforces the reality that Google is playing a bit of a catch up game in the social space.

Maybe Google should add some coupon type functions to the web location as well…you search for the latest Adidas Predator boots for your weekend soccer team, Google brings you to a few vendors…give the user a discount for “checking in” on those web sites. Play to your strength of search both for physical locations as well as web locations.


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Foursquare – getting their mojo on

Ah I guess my prediction of the demise of 4Square was slightly premature…based on a recent graphic from Silicon Alley Insider, 4Square is doing just fine thank you very much.

Granted 4Square is still very far behind when it comes to users – under 8million – compared to the likes of Twitter (190 million) or Facebook (over 500 million). However, the ability of 4Square to weather the “places” storm and actually grow at a rapid pace bodes well for the NYC based firm. They recently announced adding more Groupon type features – allowing for their merchants to offer more deals to users as well as promote and drive traffic through group coupons…like Groupon.

This could prove to be a very interesting space as Groupon and 4Square get ready to battle for the localized social media. I am sure that the likes of Google and Facebook will be watching this intently, could 4Square be an acquisition alternative to Groupon for Google? We shall see…for now just remember to check in for those deals!

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Google to add asset to move into location based apps?

Rumor this morning that Google will purchase Groupon. For a small fee of $2.5b…hey maybe they could sue SAP as well and recoup half that money!  Groupon allows users to find local deals, coupons and share with your social network. It also leans on mobility as it allows you to download coupons and use your mobile device as the de facto coupon, wonder if this move away from clipping coupons has impacted the scissor industry. It would be a powerful asset for Google and could be tied into assets already leveraged by Google, primarily their powerful Google maps. Or could this also push Google more into the location based application world of Place, Foursquare and Gowalla?

Clearly Facebook has lost a lot of momentum with Places, they seem to now know what to do with the supposed Foursquare killer, maybe Google has seen an opportunity to dive into the space. I could see Google turning around and also acquiring Foursquare or Gowalla and rolling it into a Groupon offering. When you check in via Foursquare, Google could then push coupons from Groupon…Foursquare already does this when there is a “deal” close to where you check in, but it could be that much more powerful with the Groupon offerings. Interesting rumor to say the least.

Another salvo in the Facebook v Google battle?

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Facebook Places the Foursquare killer

Much was made this past week with Facebook releasing their location based tool – Places.  Much of the fanfare around the launch was more about the logo that Facebook chose to use –

Hmmmm funny looks like the number 4…in a square, and who is Facebook looking to destroy with this new app…Foursquare! And they will do so, as well as Gowalla the other contender to own this space. Why? Simply put these two creators of the location based social services do not have any real differentiators to avoid being overwhelmed by the social media 800lb gorilla. Of course if you asked them they are less boring!

  • Yes Gowalla uses GPS to ensure that where you “check in” is really where you say you are, but since you are checking in via a smart-phone and since they all tend to already have GPS how hard will it be for Places to leverage this technology if needed?
  • Foursquare and Gowalla users have been more selective to who they include in their network. I agree with this partially. The more I thought about this I realized that the average user on Facebook has 130 friends, a lot? Well when you consider there are some with friends in the 1000s or higher you realize that many have single digit friends in their network. To me this means these users will not distinguish between someone they want to have as a friend on Facebook versus someone to follow them on Foursquare or Gowalla.
  • Foursquare and Gowalla have a switching costs vis a vis the levels users have reached. Um okay. Until that digital trophy or star I have pays the rent, gets me a job or puts clothing on my kids the switching cost is minimal. It just means I will need to check in faster with Places to get back to that “level.” I am also quite certain that Facebook will develop the cute and fun awards you earn!
  • Location location location, since the location based locations are created by the community, how hard will that be for Facebook to leverage its enormous network to build up? Plus Facebook Places allows you to check in to virtual locations, something the others cannot do yet.

I just do not see services like Foursquare and Gowalla being able to beat the network effect and sheer mass that Facebook will bring to the table. For Facebook it is an easy “sell” to its users – you are already using Facebook as your hub for social media and it is more geared towards the personal side of social media so adding a location based service, one of the most personal of social  media, is a natural extension.

I would also surmise that heavy users of Foursquare are also on Facebook, but the inverse is not necessarily the case. For those on Facebook but not Foursquare, why go through the process of rebuilding a network when you can just leverage the one you already have. Those of us who have used Foursquare and Gowalla we are probably already on Facebook, and since we will have more friends leveraging Places we will certainly not want to allow some location based rookie become mayor or have cooler stamps that us!

It was nice to have you around Foursquare and Gowalla, I wish I had more time to checkin with  you.

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Facebook announces location based service – Places

No surprise but Facebook has jumped on the location based social networking functions with – Places. Clearly they are going after Foursquare and Gowalla, I realize I was being master of the obvious with that statement. While I am still debating how we can best leverage these services – from a business and marketing angle – one cannot ignore when the social media giant Facebook jumps on the bandwagon. For Facebook, it provides another source of data on their users, a potential gold mine they can leverage to sell to advertisers and marketers. It will be interesting to see how well Places works for Facebook.

A good point by Jonathan Yarmis:

Something to watch, for me I already went into my FB profile to check I had the proper security settings. Just saying!

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Is FourSquare right for your marketing mix?

At this point we all know what Facebook is and some of us might even use Twitter on a regular basis, so of course we now have other social media outlets – location based sites like Foursquare. The New York based firm is just over a year old and has created some good buzz.  So what exactly does the service do?

  • It is a location based service – you sign up for an online account and add an app to your mobile device. Like other social sites you can and are encouraged to invite friends and expand your network.
  • When you go somewhere – restaurant, hotel, bar, or any other countless location you can “check” in via your device. You can also provide tips and to dos – giving your network your spin on places (similar to Yelp). It can help you explore your city or a new city.
  • As you check in to locations, you can earn trophies and mayor awards – basically achieving certain goals such as having over 10 checkins or having checked in at over 5 Starbucks’ locations. Based on being the one with the most checkins Foursquare will anoint you mayor of a location.
  • Of course all this allows you to measure yourself with your network…

The service appeals to our base need to network with our peers, but also accumulate “trophies” and “prizes” to show off that we are cooler than the next person. Let us face it since we have been little, we have been exposed to and trained to accumulate and show off our prizes. As children we collected pins, stickers, Barbie Dolls, baseball cards, girl/boy scout patches and the list goes on. We have collected items all our lives – a fun excercise look in your colleagues offices and see how many tchotchkes are lying around the office or better yet look for the stacks of name tags and lanyards hanging on someone’s bulletin board. You realize we continue to collect and look for symbols of our activity.   I will not claim to understand what drives us to do so, but safe to say I think many succumb to this urge. That is why Foursquare has struck a cord with that aspect of human nature.

So how can business and marketers take advantage of this? Obviously businesses with brick and mortar facilities need to make sure they can be “checkin” to, even throw a sign in your window with the Foursquare logo. Encourage your patrons to check in and to add tips. Also do not hesitate to read what some patrons are saying…clearly if on of the tips is “the service is terrible, slow and rude” something you might want to correct. Since tools such as Foursquare allow everyone to be a critic, if you are catering to this audience make sure  you are aware of the this channel.

What about other marketers for services or B2B businesses? Should you leverage this channel? Absolutely. Be creative. For example – promote your clients! If you are services based business who works with large retailers have a campaign for folks to check into their locations – add some insight into how you are working with those companies. We have much to learn about how to leverage location based tools. With Facebook moving into the space, it is clear that we have only scratched the surface with this aspect of social media.

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