image credit:MariSheibley [Flickr]
It’s been a great year for Foursquare, the location-based social network / real world game for your mobile. They are celebrating their first birthday this week, a year after they announced their existence at SXSW, with some fairly impressive stats for a start-up:
- Over 500,000 users
- Over 1,000,000 badges have been awarded
- Over 1.4 million venues with 1200 offering specials
- Over 15.5 million checkins (shattering a record this week)
But the biggest news this week is the launch of an analytics dashboard for participating businesses. The tool shows them in real-time who checked in, when they arrived, male-to-female ratio, and what times are peak hours to offer promotions. They are also offering a Staff page that allows employees to interact directly with customers, something that has been surprisingly lacking in the tool…
“Right now, there is not a lot of active interaction between people on Foursquare, let alone between businesses and people. It will be interesting to see if Foursquare starts to offer a deeper social CRM solution in the future. The next logical step after allowing business to see the data is to assist them in acting on it.” - Russ Hopkinson
While businesses are sure to benefit, it leaves me wondering: will the “techno-stalking” create the usual privacy issues with Foursquare’s user base? Will they rally for privacy over happy hour specials?
“Too often we look at things from the what’s-been-taken-away-from-me angle and forget what-I-got-out-of-it. Tax is one and user data collection is another. We’ve been benefited from data collection and analysis in many applications that are not apparent.” - Fang-Yu Lin
Fang points out an article put out by the Economist that describes how Google accomplished perhaps the world’s best spellchecker for free, while Microsoft spent millions of dollars. If consumers were just aware of HOW these companies were using their data, they might be less reluctant to relinquish it.
For Foursquare, who’s audience is still skewed towards early adopters and big city gourmands, I don’t see a huge backlash eminent. When the rewards are drink and food specials, badges and recognition, special events… it’s a lot easier a sell than seemingly more accurate delivery of online ads.
Thanks to Craig Ritchie for the link.