Foursquare is big news in digital social marketing and it’s getting bigger. Earlier this year it exceeded 10 million users and, according to one of its co-founders, Dennis Crowley, the site gets around 3 million check-ins per day, as well as 30 000 – 35 000 new sign-ups daily. Recent reports show that traditional and digital marketers will be spreading their online marketing budgets to include sites like Foursquare, Yelp and Gowalla. Oh yes, Foursquare is big news.
It helps that the company, which at 75 employees is still small fry compared to Facebook, Twitter and Google, has been working overtime to improve its service for businesses and consumers alike.
For starters, it recently joined forces with Groupon, which will start advertising its wide range of special promotions and deals on the network.
Then it announced that it would like more of its users to write reviews and comments. To make it easier for users to do so, it will simplify the page creation process, allowing anyone to create their own pages on which they can write reviews and tips and even be followed. This is supposed to be especially handy for brands, which previously had to jump through a complicated series hoops so that Foursquare employees could manually create pages for them.
From the users’ perspective, the new pages mean that anyone can see the reviews and tips that they write, even when not checked in to a specific location. So, you don’t have to be at Starbucks on 4th Avenue to read revues on the service. You can even see reviews from people you just follow, as opposed to proper friends who follow you back.
Ad Age reports that there are some minimum requirements users have to meet before they can set up these pages: their account profiles have to have pictures and they have to post tips regularly. The article says that the requirements include posting at least five tips, but doesn’t say if that’s on a daily or some other basis.
The feature is expected to go live on Friday 5 August.
A more controversial development is its intention to sell software that will allow businesses to track user behaviour. This would allow them to tailor specials and promotions and such to increase loyalty, as well as attract new customers. But, this skates perilously close to privacy violations.
There may still be a few kinks to work out in the system – especially if it wants to start making a profit without incurring the wrath of privacy groups – but so far Foursquare has proved that it intends to be more than a flash in the pan. And if it continues to grow and develop has it has done over the last year, it’ll certainly become a credible threat to the bigger, more established social networks.