caticonslite_bm_altWhat is FourSquare?

foursquare

If you’ve been keeping on top of all things digital, you may have come across something called Foursquare.

Well, if you’re wondering what Foursquare is, what it does and how to use it, then look no further, because our handy GA guide is here to explain (in plain and simple English!).

A bit of history

Foursquare is a location based social networking game co-founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. It was launched in 2009 at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas.

Prior to the launch, both founders were heavily involved in geolocation based games and apps. In fact, Crowley even sold a Foursquare predecessor called ‘Dodgeball’ to Google for an undisclosed sum in 2006. Dodgeball sent text messages to friends when you checked into specific places and was described as “a networking service that helps co-ordinate location based social interactions between mobile users”. However, in 2007, Crowley quit Google and met Naveen shortly after.

What does it do?

Foursquare allows you to share your location with friends. So, when you walk into a bar, cafe, restaurant or shop, you “check-in” (Foursquare’s term) on your mobile device, and your friends will see where you are on a Foursquare map. It’s also a game too as you earn points and “badges” for checking-in frequently, or at a certain time. If you raise enough points you become “mayor” of a certain area.

How many people use it?

Foursquare has surpassed 500,000 registered users, and had its biggest day ever on March 11th, with more than 275,000 “check-ins.”

What do users get out of Foursquare?

Users can connect with friends, earn badges, and various perks from the places where they check in. Foursquare also gives you access to your check-in history, which gives you a snapshot of where you go, who you meet there, and what you’re spending money on.

How does it relate to other businesses?

Foursquare is being taken very seriously by big name brands. Starbucks is the latest and most prominent company to sign a deal with Foursquare — you can earn a “Barista badge” by checking in five times at the coffee retailer.  Starbucks is testing Foursquare as part of its customer-loyalty program, and other companies are also using it to reward frequent visitors. Foursquare is rolling out a free analytics program that will give participating businesses detailed information on who is checking-in to their locations, and give them the ability to communicate with the visitors.

Foursquare says it now has 1.4 million venues logged in its system, with 1, 200 businesses offering special deals to people who check-in via Foursquare.

Is anyone else doing something similar?

Yes. Geo-location based games are massive right now. Gowalla is foursquare biggest competitor and Yelp, Twitter and Facebook are also vying for a piece of the “checking in” market.

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