4 Reasons Foursquare Will Succeed

with 10 Comments


Foursquare is a location-based social network. Users “Check-in” at venues via mobile phone, find where friends check-in and are then awarded points and sometimes “badges.”

Dead Simple –  There are no photos, videos, comments, or links. It is for you to find where your friends are and discover new places to check out. Those two activities are in high demand for most people. Foursquare is more like Facebook than Twitter in one major way, it focuses on your existing friends. It helps you see where they are right now. Or helps you let your friends know where you are. No more strangers passing in the night.

The Game is the Hook – Even though it is simple and offers value, some people just will write it off as one more of many location based social networks. The game helps get people over the hump of why to join. The game will not work for everyone and many lose interests in games over time. But it is a little bit of sugar on top that will entice many to try it. The information will keep them there.

Businesses Get to Play Right Away – Yes, there is great data being collected on Foursquare. And Yes, there will ultimately be ads I suspect for businesses to pay to play. But right now, any business can go in and watch the check-ins at their establishment. Offer promotions and discounts to anyone near their part of town. And interact with existing and potential customers in a new way. Some location based networks have been around for a year or two and still do not have these opportunities.

Made for Mobile – Foursquare is built from the ground up for smart phones. You do not have to go to their website. You can sign up incredibly easily and quickly. The user interface is very clean and intuitive. The locations can be created on the fly very easily. You can access phone numbers for locations and friends when needed. The platform works perfectly on the go, something that, ironically, many location based social networks have not perfected.

10 Responses

  1. Scott Hepburn

    Ironically, the mobile interface for Foursquare seems simpler to me than their standard site.

    As an extension of your “made for mobile” point, Foursquare takes some of the difficulty out of mobile marketing. The technology behind mobile marketing is overwhelming to a majority of business owners, and mobile marketing experts do little to fix that problem. Foursquare could provide a relatively simple answer to the technology side of mobile marketing.

    Of course, that doesn't fix bad campaigns, but that's another story.

  2. jakrose

    Great point Scott. Mobile marketing might as well be Greek for many
    businesses. Foursquare is also developing a better set of backend tools for
    businesses to manage these efforts.

  3. Ricardo Bueno

    You know, I was a big fan of Brightkite and I liked that they had a good/accurate database. At some point I decided to go ahead and give Foursquare a try… I found it a bit difficult to update via my Blackberry using the mobile web but meh, I stuck with it. Now, it's all I use! It connects me better than Brightkite ever did and regarding business on there, pretty awesome to see those who “get it” interacting with everyday users.

  4. Kyle Chowning

    I'm on Foursquare (chownage), but I'm not sure if I agree. While it's a great app, I think, for most, people are ultimately going to be concerned about location security/privacy, more than they are about badges and points. However, for those of us who like to collect points, it's compelling.

  5. jakrose

    Yeah, the game is not for everyone, it is true. But it is a hook for many.
    What that number is would be interesting to see.

    As far as security/privacy, it is all opt in. You either post location or
    you don't. I think more and more people are understanding that. All social
    networks have some type of featured status update as the center of the
    networking. Whether it is personal information, business news, discussion,
    or location. People are learning how to filter their own privacy for their

  6. John Dillard

    nice post, J. the retail applications are really pretty exciting. it makes me want to start a retail storefront :)

  7. jakrose

    Well I wouldn't go that far John. Ha. It is definitely a unique marketplace
    for retail to play. Should be fin to watch once the fire-hose get's turned
    on. Keep in mind Foursquare only has 3 employees. They will be staffing up
    and improving the product. They have made few big improvements to the site
    features in their first year, but I suspect they have some cool improvements

  8. Allen Mireles


    I'm curious though. What do you do when your city is not included in the Foursquare listings? Do you know of plans to increase the cities or are those of us in Toledo, Ohio just out of luck and forced to observe from the sideline? ;)

  9. jakrose

    All I can say is be patient. They definitely have it down to a science now,
    as they churned out 50 new cities in about a month in November. I have also
    heard that there next new location release might actually be a full release,
    to everywhere. Until then, you can always login to a city nearby, tag your
    city locations, and just make sure you give the correct addresses. I have
    seen that work in some places.

  10. […] to draw in customers, according to Keath. He discussed the application in a recent post on JasonKeath.com, detailing four reasons why he believes FourSquare will succeed. “Any business can go in and […]