February 5, 2014

imgresFoursquare is a great idea – it’s young, it’s fun, and it’s reflective of a super social demographic that’s constantly on the move. Once in a while, your check-in responses are even encouraging, for example when you check in 3x in a row at the gym, you might get the message:

Come here often? That’s 3 days here this week!”

Who doesn’t love a little extra support?  And to their credit, Foursquare is continually trying to improve the service. According to their blog, their current stats are:

Foursquare by the numbers (last updated January, 2014)

  • Community: Over 45 million people worldwide
  • Over 5 billion check-ins, with millions more every day
  • Businesses: Over 1.6 million using the Merchant Platform (more information at foursquare.com/business)
  • Employees: Over 170 between headquarters in New York, an office in San Francisco, and a lovely outpost in London.

I’ve been on Foursquare since the summer of 2010 – partly out of imagesloyalty to the fact that one of the founders, Dennis Crowley, is Syracuse alum (Obviously, Go Orange!)

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed over the last three years, when someone you know joins, they’re typically really excited – and they check in a lot and they might even have the most points for a couple weeks or a month…and then they lose interest resulting in radio silence, and you realize your foursquare friends haven’t checked in in weeks. There’s very little motivation to stay with it – unlike Facebook that’s dynamic, Foursquare gets stagnant pretty quickly.

So the billion dollar question is how does Foursquare keep its base interested, if there’s no one to check in, no one benefits.  Obviously people are checking in ->they just received new investments, and are still relevant – but what constitutes part of the stated 45 million strong community – having the app? checking in 1x, 10x, 100x, a 1000x?

According to Mashable.com,

Microsoft is investing $15 million in Foursquare as part of a licensing deal that will incorporate the the location-based service’s data into Microsoft’s web and mobile platforms.

The four-year deal, announced Tuesday, makes Microsoft the largest licensee of Foursquare data.

Which might be more compelling news except that as an Apple person – I associate a lot of Microsoft products as being boring, that not only do they not spark any excitement, but they’re neither innovative nor fresh.

Congratulations you get zero points for checking in: control +alt+delete this plan!

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