On Our Radar: It’s a Facebook Foursquare Friday!

Foursquare has made some major updates recently. This week we recap some big ones. There also seems to be an interesting role reversal going with behavior between Foursquare and Facebook. We’ll a look at that and more in this, our inaugural On our Radar, now moved to Fridays.

Here’s what you need to know . . .






Foursquare Releases New Rating System

We heard the same thing from Google once. At first it seemed new and exciting, but it quickly left us feeling more confused and just a tad bitter. Why ruin a good thing?

The common critique of the traditional 5-star rating system is that over time, places tend to default to the infamous 3.5-star average. Google tried to rectify this by introducing the specificity of Zagat only to find that it was perhaps just a bit too specific (as in, not applicable if you weren’t a restaurant).

Foursquare has their own solution. Despite our skepticism, it shows some promise as the platform attempt to move from its simple “checkin” roots, to being more about exploration and discovery. As you will see the new rating system appears to solve some of the problems of the old single data point schemes by being integrative.

At first glance, all they’ve done is gone from a rating out of 5 to a rating out of 10. But pull back the covers and there is a little more to the story.

These ratings look at tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, customer loyalty, local expertise, and worldwide check-ins. The data is compiled and a score is given based on aggregated sum of various data from all these sources.

The result: a more holistic representation of a location. We’re excited to see how well it will be received as Foursquare continues to make big moves with its platform.

Foursquare on Facebook Feeds?

Speaking of all things new at Foursquare, they’ve just launched a neat feature that ties in with Facebook.

In accordance with their Monday iOS update, users can check-in with friends who aren’t on Foursquare. When checking in to a location, you can choose a friend to check in with and they will get a Facebook notification. They will also be tagged in the Facebook post if it’s shared.

This ability expands Foursquare’s reach and increases its brand awareness among other platform users. The public notifications on another platform are appealing to users of Facebook and Foursquare alike who are looking to discover and share great locations with one another.

We note that TechCrunch’s Drew Olanoff sees big promise in the platform, particularly in light of these developments

“While investors may struggle to find the value in Foursquare’s long-term, I’ve stated before that the company is setting itself up for serious competition and success. By leveraging all of the data that we’ve pumped into the service over the years, it now has a fantastic platform to build on top of and monetize for advertisers and partners.”

It seems that, even though Foursquare’s main platform has veered away from the purely social/local and more toward local search, they still hold true to their genesis as a fundamentally social platform. This is a big step and a great way to bring new people into the Foursquare fold.

Facebook Check-Ins?

While Foursquare reaches out to Facebook, Facebook begins testing some very Foursquare-esque features in what appears to be akin to the Romny Vs. Obama platform ‘borrowing’ of this year’s  election. They are currently testing a new service that associates public Wi-Fi hotspots with a user’s Facebook page.

Put plainly, it means that (with a special router) you are able to access the internet for free from a Wi-Fi hotspot. In exchange, you will be “checking in” to that particular location on your Facebook account. The users are directed to the local business’s Facebook page following the log in.

This serves as a great advertising tool for local businesses. It also eliminates the hassle of having to enter in personal information and other annoying protocols to access free Wi-Fi, making it considerably less annoying.

It’s hard to compete on the local search scene with big names like Google and Yelp bearing down on the competition. That isn’t stopping Foursquare who have been making some very promising updates to their platform and approach to local search.

Meanwhile, Facebook continues to inch its way into location-based marketing with new and innovative methods. We’re excited and will be keeping them On Our Radar as things progress.

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