Foursquare (Links to an external site.) and Swarm (Links to an external site.) help guide users to the best food, shopping and entertainment venues based on a user’s current location. Foursquare learns what you like based on your input/searches, and recommends places they think you should try. Much like Urbanspoon, Yelp, and Opentable—recommendations are based on those with similar tastes and ratings from experts, as well as friends.
To make their service different from the pack, Foursquare launched the personalized check-in and real-time location sharing with friends in 2009. In 2014, they gave the check-in feature its own app, “Swarm,” which is touted to be the fastest and easiest way to notify friends via Foursquare’s (8.0) own proprietary technology called “Pilgrim” which automatically detects location. Foursquare’s new “Hive” app (Aug. 2014) features current super hotspots.
The Foursquare/Swarm community has more than 55 million users in all working-class age groups worldwide, and approximately 1.9 million businesses connections. The free service includes major international language support.
Foursquare helps users find restaurants, coffee shops, nightlife, shopping, outdoor activities, and entertainment based on their location (or a specified location). The platform allows people to search by “specials,” places they haven’t been before; companies they are “following;” venues by price and hours; a saved favorite location; or a “liked” location. Each detailed listing is shown on a map, and allows users to read reviews. Foursquare eschews the traditional concept of long-form reviews, and instead encourages the writing short message “Tips,” users can ‘Like’ tips, and save tips onto their own favorite list. Foursquare 8.0 also allows users to rate venues by answering a series of questions.
The popular “mayorship” feature retired from Foursquare and re-implemented in Swarm, where users compete with friends for “mayorships” of venues, rather than against all other users.
Foursquare has recently implemented a new analytical tool for companies to understand their statistics by using a simple, user-friendly dashboard. The dashboard allows the businesses to see data such as: top visitors (the regulars), most recent check-ins, unique visitors, check-ins also sent to Twitter/Facebook, gender comparisons, and a time breakdown when people are checking in.
While Foursquare started as a company focused on check-ins and a social network, its business model is starting to change directions. The company has realized that it can sell its greatest asset – their database of precise locations of restaurants, malls, and shops. By no means is Foursquare going to abandon their previous business model, but now they will be able to make money by selling their database to keep their platform free for their users.
Foursquare is successful at fulfilling the needs of both consumers and businesses. The consumers are able to find locations, read reviews, and interact with others, while the business are learning about their target market. Due to a large number of competitors, Foursquare has been slow to grow. Foursquare (like their competitors) have to be aware of fake data being supplied by the business owners, which will affect the effectiveness of listings and interaction of the consumers.
Article to ponder:
Popper, B. & Hamburger, E. (May 1, 2014). Meet Swarm: Foursquare’s ambitious plan to split its app in two: To take on Yelp, Foursquare is moving beyond the check-in. (Links to an external site.)