What the heck is happening to Foursquare?

Foursquare Overshare BadgeFoursquare used to be my favorite check-in tool, and now I have to say that I still use it, but I’m loosing interest fast. How does a company that beat out it’s competitors and had a solid niche as the only (popular) gamified check-in app fall from grace?

In the beginning everybody fought to be the mayor of their favorite Foursquare hangout but over time the buzz surrounding the social media app seemed to have waned as many users simply stopped caring about the game’s badges and check-ins. Source: What happened to the game mechanics on Foursquare? 

Gamification.co nailed it… I can remember the first few times I saw a social check-in on Facebook and thought “How did they do that?” I immediately saw the value in sharing your whereabouts and was hooked on the game sa soon as I downloaded the app. I checked in everywhere I went and even got my Overshare badge. I was even more excited when check-ins started netting me tangible items like the grocery store that gave me a free doughnut every time I checked in! Pubs gave mayor discounts and there was some cool factor to being the mayor of your favorite locations and battling to keep the title. Unfortunately, things got a little stale and Facebook came out with a check-in system of their own as did Google +, Yelp, Meet-up, and basically every other app on my phone. It makes me sad, because the game was fun and the added benefit of check-in rewards was awesome. but the game never changed and now sadly we are seeing Foursquare pull back further and further from the game and transform itself into another Yelp not that the world needs that.

So what happened? In my opinion the bottom fell out because they did not attract enough mayor or check-in specials early on. This was simply a sales problem and one I think they could have still solved. The demise of Foursquare is going to be them entering into a crowded space and dropping the key feature that made them famous… This kind of gamification is a marketers dream and I can not believe they would walk away from it.

If you are interested in learning more about using games as a marketing tool I highly recommend: Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests as a jumping off point. 

What do you think? Is Foursquare on the right or wrong track? 


4 thoughts on “What the heck is happening to Foursquare?”

  1. I agree, it’s sad to see Foursquare becoming less fun/relevant, but I use Foursquare with IFTTT to write my checkins to my Google Calendar so I can keep track of where I was when. Helps a lot with tax time! 🙂

  2. I think you are exactly right about Foursquare. As startups be come successful, they often become more conservative rather than continuing the innovation that brought them success. The pull back and try to emulate their perceived competition.

    I worry the same thing is happening in much of SoMe. Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others are copying features from the other platforms rather than spending energy creating.

  3. I had Foursquare and, in the beginning, really loved checking-in and becoming mayor.

    Then I realised, no one else I knew used it. Here in the south of England it doesn’t/didn’t seem to be used that much by people. So many of the location I would regularly visit, I had to add.

    Even when I was in Dublin – the capital city of Ireland – I found I was having to add the locations I was going to.

    That seemed a pointless exercise, so I soon got bored.

    I’ve not used it in over a year and yet I have only received a couple of emails to say someone else had taken over my mayor-ship of a location.

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