Heads Up Foursquare, Here Comes Facebook

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Today I read about the unveiling of Facebook deals(in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). What is Facebook deals you might ask? First, let’s take a quick tour of location-based social services. The two I tend to hear the most about (and the two I use) are Gowalla and Foursquare. Each of these services basically allow for a person to check-in somewhere, alert their friends to their location, share photos, and discover new places. 

Both have a way of rewarding users, either through accomplishment badges or pins, which really ads a gamey(?) element that people seem to enjoy. I, for one, and particularly proud of my “I’m On a Boat!” badge.

Foursquare decided they wanted to offer a little more, so they instituted Specials. If, for example, I were to check-in at a movie theater, I might find a special attached to that check-in for a free popcorn. This of course encourages people to sign up for the service in hopes of getting free chips and salsa each time they go to Chili’s (which you do). 

Now that we’ve covered that, Facebook deals might make a bit more sense. It’s the same concept: check-in somewhere and identify deals nearby for discounts and free stuff. So, who cares if others are already doing it? Here is an excerpt from the Facebook statistics page:

  • There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
  • People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
  • There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products.

Foursquare currently has just over 6 million users total for the service. They actually have a pretty sweet looking infographic to illustrate the 2010 year as a whole.

So, there are probably two questions I’d ask right now:

  1. If Facebook offers deals, is there any incentive (outside of the game aspect) for new users to sign up for Foursquare?
  2. Will Foursquare and others live on as specialized and niche services that people will continue to use and adopt in spite of Facebooks new features?

That’s it.

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