Do I Foursquare or Gowalla?

Location based social networking is on the rise.  Though you may not have heard of Foursquare or Gowalla their growth has exploded across the US and some of Canada.  Combining gaming elements and using the location provided by the GPS in your smart phones, these applications allow you to “checkin” to places to earn points.  Just this past weekend Foursquare exceeded 40 million checkins.

Why should you care?

When visiting a new city or wanting to eat at a different restaurant, you can see where people have been checking in to and what they have recommended to eat.  Venues have a feature where you can add a tip for others to see when they checkin. Example: On Foursquare, if you checkin at Wasabi in the Normanview Crossing (in Regina), you will see my “tips” which notify you that the Bonnie and Rose roll is my favorite roll and the Roll-Bento is my favorite Bento box.

Now anywhere I go that I experience something amazing (like the Bonnie and Rose Roll at Wasabi) I can leave a note for the next person who checks in.

For business:

It doesn’t take a business strategy jedi to see how a business could benefit from location based applications.  Many businesses have already begun offering discounts for those who checkin at their establishment.

In a World where word of mouth is still the most powerful medium, applications that allow us to voice our opinion more readily will increase in value.  The more messages that are thrown at us via advertising efforts the more trust we will put in authentic messages from people we trust.

Are you on Foursquare or Gowalla?  What is your opinion of location based applications?

4 replies
  1. Matt Corker
    Matt Corker says:

    User-generated tips are rad – hence why I love using Yelp. However, the gaming aspects of location based applications, in my opinion, override the value these applications create. Are users checking in to become the next mayor of a certain location or are they checking in to share tips and reviews. If it’s for the later, I’d say there are better applications to do that.
    .-= Matt Corker´s last blog ..Let Out Your Creative Beast =-.

  2. Troy H (@THeibein)
    Troy H (@THeibein) says:

    I am on Foursquare. I believe that each ‘player’ in the FourSquare game is incentived enough and in a few different ways to drive its popularity.

    Status – I am the mayor of lots of places, look at my badges, look at my points. People (myself included) are obsessed with getting to the top-tier regardless of what it is.

    Networking/Friends – Metcalfe’s Law applies here in that the more of your friends that use it, the exponentially greater its use. Imagine checking it at the mall only to see that a friend you haven’t said hi to in weeks is at the Starbucks one level up enjoying a coffee?

    Information – Tips based on where I am versus what I asked or keywords is powerful. We have to hold on to see how well the world of business utilizes it though.

  3. Jeph
    Jeph says:

    [Matt] – Great point, I am on Yelp as well and I do like the interface Yelp has on my blackberry but there’s something about the gaming aspect of it. It’s not like I go to a certain place for sushi just to become the mayor, it’s almost like a bonus. It will be interesting to see where these applications are in a years time.

  4. Jeph
    Jeph says:

    I think that’s a great point bringing up Metcalf’s Law, the more people that get involved the better the service is. I am seeing this now with Twitter, more and more people are buying in, again I would like to see in a years time to what will come of this. As for Foursquare I think small business has a lot to gain from getting involved but just liek with everything online, it takes Saskatchewan just a little longer to catch on. But just think of all the small touristy places all over Saskatchewan that are difficult to keep track of. Why not utilize this type of media to get found? It doesn’t hurt to sign up for Foursquare, Gowalla or Yelp and just leave a single tip for your business, that could end up generating some interesting results.
    Thanks for the comments!

    Jeph

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