Foursquare’s Downtime: Does Anyone *Really* Care?

I’ve seen a lot of talk over the past couple of days about Foursquare being down and somehow that’s a big problem worthy of several news stories and blog posts.  Sure it’s a hot topic, so everyone is jumping onboard – but I propose that if Foursquare went away tomorrow, most people wouldn’t even notice (except the VC’s who funded the $21.4M for the startup).

If you haven’t heard, Foursquare is a location-based application you download to your smartphone that allows you to check in at restaurants, bars, stores and other businesses, sharing that information with your “friends.”  Straight from the Foursquare home page: “We’re all about helping you find new ways to explore the city.  We’ll help you meet up with your friends and let you earn points and unlock badges for discovering new places, doing new things and meeting new people.”

Just to see what it was all about, I downloaded Foursquare several months ago.  Since that time, I’ve checked in a modest 62 times to earn a total of 5 “badges”.  Foursquare has brought absolutely no value to my life, yet I continue to open the app when I’ve got some downtime at a new restaurant.  Perhaps the best function I’ve found on Foursquare is the “see nearby tweets,” where I might find someone talking about something interesting.

My mix of “friends” on Foursquare is pretty diverse – a friend from my hometown back in Texas, a web designer I’ve worked with but never met in person, a local on-air radio personality, and a handful of folks from Twitter I may have met once or twice.  I’m not sure they’re too interested in knowing where I’m having lunch.

With the rise in popularity of location-based check in services from Yelp, and more recently, Facebook Places, people have many different options to share their location and activities with their friends.  I think Facebook Places actually has the best chance of survival of these types of services, since the personal connections are much deeper and the user base is so much broader.

With approximately 3 million Foursquare users, I wonder how many of those people really noticed a few hours of downtime over the past couple of days?  I don’t know anyone in my inner circle who uses the service on a regular basis, and further, I don’t know of any businesses who put much time and effort into Foursquare promotions.

What about you?  Did the Foursquare downtime ruin your day or did you even notice?


8 thoughts on “Foursquare’s Downtime: Does Anyone *Really* Care?

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  4. This totally made me giggle – “somehow that’s a big problem worthy of several news stories and blog posts.”

    I joined because I felt I needed to check it out for businesses purposes, because I work for a company with 40+ locations. Over the past few months I have started losing interest, due to lack of incentives. I think companies have realized only a small percentage of their customers are checking in. There is more potential for FB Places, but again, it doesn’t seem like much is happening there either. New territory for so many…

    Nice post!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ginger. Interesting conversation we had on Twitter today regarding Foursquare. Maybe it’s just a slower evolution than we’d like to see – maybe we need to be more patient. Businesses need to realize the sheer power of mobile marketing on geo-location platforms, consumers need to get used to seeing benefits of using the services, and the services themselves need to use some of that VC funding to reach out to local businesses to teach them best practices. I’m picturing one of those three-arrow diagrams going in a circle, each pointing at the other. Businesses –> Consumers –> LBS –> (points back to Businesses)…

      While I’m not closing down my Foursquare account anytime soon (who would want to lose those useless 147 check-ins??), I’m not really looking for any great benefit to come from it either.


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  6. Well you were obviously wrong. Foursquare is at 6 million members and counting and anecdotally mentioned way more than Facebook’s Places.

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