The day Foursquare stopped being a game. #foursquare #checkins #data


Check in judgement day has finally come, the one that’s been foretold by myself and many others. Foursquare isn’t a game anymore. It’s about the business, the information to that business and how it can monetise from that business. 

Currently, a business using Foursquare (like your corner coffee shop) can see the customers who have checked in in the last three hours (in addition to the most recent and their most loyal visitors). This is great for helping store owners identify their customers and give them more personal service or offers. But a lot of businesses only have time to log in at the end of the day to look at it. So, with this change, we’re going to be showing them more of those recent check-ins, instead of just three hours worth. As always, if you’d prefer not to permit businesses to see when you check into their locations going forward, you can uncheck the box under ‘Location Information’ at

The way I see it is this, the users of Foursquare are data producers. Once again we are the product of free data that they can use to prove to business that we are close by (nice to know we have the option to choose that). 

By their own admission Foursquare know that businesses don’t look at their stats or the users who are nearby. It will be the savvy chosen few.  Proving once again that retailers do what retailers do, sell to customers and everything else is secondary to them. Hence it’s such a hard sector to sell to.

Framing retailers to see who’s nearby in the last three hours forces the retailer to visit their management console more often thus improving the chance of Foursquare captivating a sale of some form. Foursquare need to make money and the one thing they can monetise is the 3 billion checkins from 30 million users.  To be honest it’s all they’ve got. 

In the wake of the Instagram fiasco Foursquare can’t afford to lose a 25% dip in checkin volume as it would kill them stone dead. So the nicely nicely terms and conditions email smoothed things over. Privacy 101, nice touch but it still means that we’re gonna use all that data for free, you know the stuff you gave us while playing that game.  

Lastly Foursquare need a serious business model, the last investment round caused concern for the simple fact that there still wasn’t a solid model for revenue even though they have the market share since the Gowalla/Foursquare launch head-to-head at SXSW a few years ago.  Once again proving that it’s not always good to get the users first if you can’t make a penny out of them in the long run.  Plus check ins have become boring to the user with not many benefits (the one’s that Foursquare were hoping the retailers would sort out as it was some form of “game changer” in the retail scene).

Not everyone was fooled. Not everyone’s eyes were covered. Some of us knew it would end like this.





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