There has been a lot of debate recently about whether Foursquare will truly become the main point of check-in’s around places in the future, or our others going to to be the next game in town ? With Facebook’s Places now extending to Blackberry’s and the roadmap growth process for the 600M+ users, Foursquare only has 4M users is not even 1% the size of its Goliath predator. Foursquare has been growing with brands and starting to bring lots of new value with different promotional relationships and feeds to their platform, but can they grow fast enough as a company focused on local and is their growth pace enough to be sustainable? Recently Foursquare was compared to Groupon in its efforts to bring value-added promotions around the community, and some say that Foursquare will need thousands of resources to keep the momentum going. Even though advertising can be considered great content ( if presented in the right way) is it the right content that will make Foursquare scale with user acquisition? For some reason, I believe that it is a good direction, but I am not convinced it is really the right focused strategy as it is so resource intensive to do all those deals. Groupon emerged with a very different business model for user attraction that has been very local, but not as hyper-local as Foursquare.
In my recent visit to conference around local advertising from the perspective of the local directory companies, Foursquare was a hot-topic, but they seemed to be working toward building their own anchor around local advertisers and Foursquare was not the centerpiece. There was more debate and discussion around social media distribution in general around Facebook and Twitter. Foursquare’s game got them out of the gate, and they have tapped into the behavior of the check-in, but others are fast to copy this phenomena. I am really looking forward to seeing how they scale, but they need something more organic wow now to attract users like they did with the first game concept. I am looking forward to this evolution and see how they balance user focus vs. advertising in the future, with or without that sales force. My question is can they keep the game going to continue to game users? Can the game concept continue to grow at a local level?