FourSquare

n13foursquareLaunched in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, FourSquare is driven by location. The mobile application allows users to “check-in” at restaurants, coffee shops, museums, club or wherever they may find themselves and connect with friends in the area. The idea for the apporiginated in 2003 when Crowley and Alex Rainert tested the concept of a check-in based social network with a mobile service called Dodgeball. The service was initially successful and was acquired by Google in 2005, but was unable to be sustained due to lack of support and eventually shut down in 2009.

With the death of Dodgeball, Crowley launched FourSquare with Naveen Selvadurai in 100 metro areas across the world on March 11, 2009. Based on a user’s location, they could check-in to local venues and nearby friends would be notified. In addition to the check-in service, local search and recommendations were a huge part of the app’s initial launch. Users could create a profile personalized with their “tastes,” or preferences in food styles or environmental aspects, and their tastes would be used to personalize what was recommended specifically for them. Users could also review locations they checked into and leave “tips,” or short messages about a location limited to 200 characters. Tips could be made more prominent by being “liked” by other users. If a user checked in to a particular venue multiple times, they could accumulate points that would eventually unlock rewards, badges and coupons. Frequent check-ins to one location could also allow a user to become “mayor” of that particular location, and some businesses chose to offer rewards or discounts to FourSquare mayors.

Upon its launch, FourSquare took off in these metro areas and eventually spread to places that were not so heavily populated. The service reached 7 million user IDs on February 21, 2011, less than two years after its launch. President Barack Obama even created an account in August of 2011.

FourSquare was successful during this time because it simplified social interaction and mobile venue-creation. Users could go to services like Yelp for phone numbers and longer reviews, but FourSquare offered concise reviews and let users see what locations they would enjoy based on their own personal tastes and tips and reviews left by friends.

With the app’s growing popularity among local businesses, FourSquare launched “FourSquare for Business” in early 2013, a separate mobile app that allowed a business to manage their listing on FourSquare. This provided a way for businesses to update business information as well as create “specials” and see which visitors frequented their venue the most.

While the app saw a surge in popularity in the U.S. around its initial launch, usage has since declined and the app has seen several major redesigns as a result. In May of 2014, FourSquare launched a separate app called Swarm as a companion app. The location sharing and social networking aspects of FourSquare were moved to Swarm, and FourSquare shifted its focus entirely to personalized local search. Swarm includes all of the location sharing, rewards and badges that characterized its predecessor and also incorporates a direct messaging feature and allows users to track their check-in history.

Today, more than 50 million user IDs are registered to FourSquare, and more than 50 percent of the service’s users are outside the United States. The post-Swarm version of FourSquare never shares a user’s location publicly and no longer allows users to check in. The local search app still allows users to leave tips and reviews and searches are still catered to what users specify as their tastes, but the app is now entirely dedicated to helping users find places to go based on where they’ve been and what they like.

For Discussion:
1. Do you use or have you ever used FourSquare? (Personally, I had never even downloaded the app prior to this assignment.)

2. What do you think led to FourSquare’s decline in usage?

3. How can you see a service like FourSquare benefitting local businesses?

4. Do you think it was a smart move on FourSquare’s part to shift its focus to local search and transition the social networking features to a separate app? Why or why not?

5. How can you see FourSquare being used differently in a metropolitan area as opposed to a community like Arkadelphia?

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20 thoughts on “FourSquare”

  1. 1. Do you use or have you ever used FourSquare? Nope!

    2. What do you think led to FourSquare’s decline in usage? I think the fact that you can “check-in” on Facebook or use Siri to find businesses near you there isn’t much unique about it anymore.

    3. How can you see a service like FourSquare benefitting local businesses? The whole idea of giving your clients incentives to share their location and give good reviews by giving them rewards or specials could really benefit local businesses.

    4. Do you think it was a smart move on FourSquare’s part to shift its focus to local search and transition the social networking features to a separate app? Why or why not? From what you’ve explained about the app, it kind of sounds like a bad idea to me. There are so many search engines and the social networking features seemed to give this one something unique. I think it makes it less convenient to have to switch in and out of two apps.

    5. How can you see FourSquare being used differently in a metropolitan area as opposed to a community like Arkadelphia? I think that since there are a large amount of users in a metropolitan areas it makes more sense there. Here in Arkadelphia, I really just see myself asking a professor who has been here for a long time where I can get the best cup of coffee or a good salad. Small towns have a more personal feel and word of mouth can be more effective.

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    1. I completely agree with how Four Square is benefiting local businesses by allowing them to give customers incentives to receive rewards or specials.

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      1. This seems like one thing that FourSquare does right, but there just aren’t enough big, metropolitan areas to support the number of users that you would want using your site. Maybe in a few years FourSquare could see some growth as people become more connected.

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  2. 1. No I have not ever used it.
    2. I think there are other more popular sites that offer similar features causing FourSquare to decline.
    3. I think the idea of local businesses being promoted by sharing their locations would be very beneficial to them.
    4. I don’t think this was a smart move. It is incredibly inconvenient for people to have to go to two different places to use FourSquare. They should have kept it how it was.
    5. I think more people would use it in a metropolitan area whereas Arkadelphia is so small that people don’t really need an app to tell them where to go because they have more than likely heard of places via word of mouth.

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    1. Completely agree, Emily! Do you use similar features in apps like Facebook? I never really have been one to “check-in” at places on my Facebook, so I doubt I would use foursquare.

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      1. It’s just interesting to see that sites still use the check-in feature. It’s probably one of the main reasons that FourSquare is suffering: because it focuses on an aspect of social media that isn’t widely used.

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    2. Yes, I also agree that they should keep the app together and that the app’s properties could just be found somewhere else.

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  3. 1. Nope!

    2. I think there has been a decline because you are able to “check in” on many other accounts.

    3. I guess it could benefit because they could share and promote their location through it.

    4. I think it’s inconvenient. It’s frustrating to have to go to two separate apps to do something.

    5. A metropolitan area is busier than a small town like Arkadelphia. There are more places to check into in a metropolitan area than a small community.

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    1. In addition, I don’t think people use the check in feature on many services because it doesn’t really serve any purpose. It would be interesting though to see a service that collects data on the places you go and connects you to friends that like to do the same stuff, like Tinder but for friendship. I don’t know, that might be kind of freaky.

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  4. 1. Do you use or have you ever used FourSquare? Nope

    2. What do you think led to FourSquare’s decline in usage? the technology was made into another internet site and no one needs two sites to do the same thing

    3. How can you see a service like FourSquare benefitting local businesses? well it gives a business a place to post something and millions of people to see it

    4. Do you think it was a smart move on FourSquare’s part to shift its focus to local search and transition the social networking features to a separate app? Why or why not? I think it would be because then it would help narrow a search down for those looking

    5. How can you see FourSquare being used differently in a metropolitan area as opposed to a community like Arkadelphia?
    well if you are looking for a certain place to go and to get info quickly I think it can be used better and more effectively. just the search being more narrow will help a lot. People getting info would be much faster and more of it.

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  5. I have never used FourSquare but I use Yelp all the time.
    FourSquare is probably good because it lets you get reviews for places you are interested in but Yelp is already a really popular service for that and you will be less likely to use the service in non-metropolitan areas.
    FourSquare can benefit local businesses because it recommends you to nearby people who otherwise may have never heard about you.
    It was smart of them to shift their focus because their service works better by focusing on the local search feature.
    FourSquare is better in Metro areas because there is simply more places for people to check in.

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    1. I think it is cool that you use another app for a similar service. I don’t use the yelp app, instead I usually just use the “nearby” section on my iPhone when in a new city and not sure where to go for a meal. How often would you say you actually use yelp to find locations? Do you mostly use this feature when you’re in an unfamiliar place or do you use it in places you’re familiar with too?

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  6. I have never used foursquare before.

    I think that FourSquare’s decline in usage may be because of Facebook and other social media giants that have recently adapted, incorporating many of the features found on FourSquare.

    I think FourSquare has the potential to really help local businesses by making them known. Some of the greatest restaurants I have been to I have discovered through word of mouth, but an app like FourSquare essentially does the same thing online.

    I think it may have been a poor move, considering all of the other social media giants only seem to be adding features.

    I think FourSquare would be an app that is a lot more helpful in a heavily populated metropolitan area. Arkadelphia might be a desolate place on FourSquare.

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    1. I agree with you that the Metropolitan area would be better for the app’s use to population and that Arkadelphia may not be the best place to promote the app.

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  7. 1. Do you use or have you ever used FourSquare? (Personally, I had never even downloaded the app prior to this assignment.)
    I have never used FourSquare or had any idea of what it was before reading this entry.

    2. What do you think led to FourSquare’s decline in usage?
    I think it declined because I don’t think anyone really thinks about checking in on social media EVERY time they go to a place. I think it declined because most people really didn’t see a need for the app.

    3. How can you see a service like FourSquare benefitting local businesses?
    It can be advertising for local businesses because it will show people where everyone is spending their time and what’re the best places in town to eat and shop.

    4. Do you think it was a smart move on FourSquare’s part to shift its focus to local search and transition the social networking features to a separate app? Why or why not?
    I think not because then it split the app into two separate things that could have just been one. I think it isn’t going to be used all that often.

    5. How can you see FourSquare being used differently in a metropolitan area as opposed to a community like Arkadelphia?
    There are more places to visit in a Metropolian area to visit and to advertise so it is better.

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  8. 1. Nope!
    2. I would say just the popularity of it, because I had no idea what it was prior to the presentation!
    3. It would provided businesses a positive or negative feedback from people who have recently visited there and what they can work on.
    4. Yes, because people will have more interest in things that are available to them.
    5. I think in a metropolitan setting, foursquare is more used because you have a bigger population than you would in a rural setting like Arkadelphia.

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  9. 1. Do you use or have you ever used FourSquare? (Personally, I had never even downloaded the app prior to this assignment.)
    Never!

    2. What do you think led to FourSquare’s decline in usage?
    There are so many other social medias that can do the same thing. IF I can save space on my phone by having an app that does multiple things rather than one specific thing, I’m definitely going to choose the multi-use one.

    3. How can you see a service like FourSquare benefitting local businesses?
    If people are actually using and looking to Foursquare for reviews, then special discounts could be given to customers who leave reviews.

    4. Do you think it was a smart move on FourSquare’s part to shift its focus to local search and transition the social networking features to a separate app? Why or why not?
    Definitely not the greatest idea to have a separate app. People don’t like having to work any harder than they have to to get information.

    5. How can you see FourSquare being used differently in a metropolitan area as opposed to a community like Arkadelphia?
    In a metropolitan area, Foursquare would be useful because there are so many restaurants to choose from. In Arkadelphia, you basically are on a four-restaurant rotation.

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