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I Just Broke up With foursquare

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Sorry foursquare, you're out.

Sorry foursquare, you’re out.

Dear foursquare,

I hate to do this before the holidays, but we’re through. I uninstalled your phone app yesterday. It’s been a long time coming and as an early adopter of your app, I’ve been patient. But it’s over now and there’s nothing you can do. I will however tell you what you did wrong.

First of all, you messed with the gaming system which is pretty much the reason I used your software. I checked in everywhere…and I mean everywhere…to get points, score higher than my friends and earn mayorships and badges. As a male user, I like rules and knowing if I do this, you’ll do that. You screwed up by changing point schemes, selling badges to the highest bidder and ignoring the game mechanism that made your app so sticky.

That I could live with, because your app provided some utility. I used it to check for restaurants or coffee shops around my location if I was feeling adventurous. I also used it to tell my Facebook friends where I was. But then you created Swarm.

I never downloaded it. I figured it would be a bad idea when I saw Dennis Crowley defending it on a Robert Scoble Facebook post. Then my friends who did download it started complaining about ease of use, functionality and being a phone resource piggy. I still checked in using foursquare.

Like a lot of people, I started seeing a downside to telling all my friends, family and Facebook “friends” where I was all the time. For me, checking in became more of a special occasion instead of a religious compulsion like it was when your gaming system worked.

Last Saturday was the last straw. When you forced me to download Swarm to make a check in, I was through. I wanted to post I was at the football game and your app loaded, it told me where I was, but when I hit check in, it took me to the Play store to upgrade to Swarm. Sorry, I’m not going to do that, ever. So I just checked in with Facebook.

That’s when I realized I don’t need you any more foursquare. It took me a few days to act on it, but I deleted your app yesterday. Unless you do something really amazing, I’m going to stop talking about you as well.

I know you’re probably thinking, “Facebook force upgraded people with it’s messenger app, why can’t we?” The answer is simple, people need the utility found in messenger, they don’t need to check in anywhere…ever. You took the fun out of it, so nobody wants to either. I didn’t want the messenger app, but I had no choice. People have a choice with checking in, with location search, with adding photos and all the other things your app does. We’re just not choosing to do it with you any more.

So, this is it. I’d suggest we be friends, but we both know that’s a lie. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Kind regards,

Your former foursquare user

Foursquare and Professional Sports

July 20, 2010 3 comments

I’m always amused every four years when some patriotic American exclaims, “Who cares about World Cup soccer…the Superbowl is the highest rated sport on the planet!”

Well, if you do the math…which Americans are not so highly rated at…you’ll understand a full half a billion more people worldwide watch the World Cup final than the Superbowl.  It’s ok Captain America, you didn’t know otherwise.

Regardless, passion about sports is undeniable.  That’s one reason foursquare created a badge opportunity for not only the NBA Finals, but also the World Cup.  Indeed, NYC based foursquare recently spoke at a Forrester Research conference regarding the Boston Celtics and the Bruins.

Granted, the Celtics made it further this year in their respective sport, but the opportunity for fans to identify with a brand online was unprecedented.  Identifying with either of the NBA finalists was as simple as a check in on foursquare with the phrase #go(finalist team) and #NBA.

World Cup check in badges were harder…either you needed to do it at a venue in South Africa, or at an official CNN sponsored watch party in the U.S.  You also needed to follow CNN on foursquare.  For a small market city like SLC, these badges were impossible to get, yet still built brand recognition for those who cared about foursquare and the World Cup.

Right now, badges are a big deal for foursquare.  I don’t see the business future in badges and their founder Dennis Crowley has stated he wants to limit official foursquare badges.  The fact is, a legitimate foursquare check in to a business is much more important than a punch card or a loyalty card.

With the ability to share check ins to multiple social media platforms, foursquare has a multiplier factor as big as any user’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blog audience.  When I check in and share to my entire network, I’m giving a personalized commercial to over 1500 people.

And I don’t have a big network!

Dennis Crowley doesn’t want to create a bunch of badges, but it seems to me an obvious product is a digital loyalty card using his service.  It’s a whole lot easier to manage and reward great customers using foursquare than any other platform.  If you get a free drink, coffee, sandwich, appetizer or entrée from a loyalty program, isn’t foursquare the best platform to share it on?  The answer is yes and Crowley and company need to develop and capitalize on this realization.

Foursquare can spend a lot of time and energy developing badges for professional teams and that will certainly develop a lot of cachet for their brand, but everyday experiences, if properly monetized, can provide a whole lot more for the customer, retailer and foursquare.

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