Foursquare Puts The Kibosh On Friend-Tip Spamming

In an apparent effort to cut down on spam, Foursquare has started limiting the number of friends and friend requests that a user can have. The About Foursquare blog explains that some companies have friended tens of thousands of Foursquare users so that, when those users check-in somewhere, the companies' tips appear more often. In other words, a lot of tips and a lot of friends checking in equals a lot of Foursquare exposure. But that won't be as easy to do going forward. A Foursquare spokesperson confirmed the friend limit to About Foursquare, but what the limit is remains a mystery. [...]


Foursquare Adds Photos, Comments For More Social Engagement

In a bid to continue momentum and broaden utility and engagement Foursquare released a new version of its iPhone app. The new app contains two big new features: photos and comments. (Android and BlackBerry are coming shortly.) Both have been on the white board for some time according to Alex Rainert, head of product for the company. Comments allow friends to have a conversation about a venue or related experience. They also allow people to coordinate activities, which previously could only be done via SMS. Comments are private among those you're connected to on Foursquare. Comments c [...]


Local Search: Fish Where The Other Fishermen Aren’t

Most businesses tend to focus on the big channels when it comes to local SEO efforts. While it makes sense to optimize your Google Place Page and pay attention to your presence on other big local search services (e.g. Bing Local, CityGrid, DexKnows, Insider pages, Local.com, Merchant circle, Superpages, Yahoo Local, Yellow book, Yelp, YP.com, etc.), because of the fragmented nature of local search, there are plenty of other services that generate great local traffic and can provide you with SEO benefits. Here's a brief overview of some "off the grid" opportunities. Facebook Places. So Faceb [...]


Yelp Targets Foursquare, Facebook With Check-In Offers

Yelp continues to play catch-up with some of its competition in the local search landscape. The company's latest move is the announcement of "Check-in Offers." If you're familiar with the premise behind Foursquare's business users rewarding "mayors" and others who check-in to local businesses, you'll be familiar with Yelp's product. The idea is the same: Local businesses using Yelp's business tools can reward customers when they check-in via Yelp's mobile apps. Check-in offers is available now in the countries where Yelp offers a business dashboard, namely the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland. W [...]


Vons Loyalty Card + Foursquare Check-Ins = Pepsico Rewards

Been checking in to the gym on Foursquare? That activity could earn you a free SoBe Lifewater, the next time you swipe your loyalty card at a Vons grocery store. The chain has partnered with Foursquare so that check-in activity generates rewards, provided by Pepsico. Linking Your Accounts Vons is a supermarket chain that's big in Southern California and Nevada. With the new program, Foursquare users register via a special page to link their Foursquare accounts to their VonsClub cards: After that, Vons will automatically know about your check-in activity, including badges you've earned [...]


Foursquare Users Get A Trophy Case & Partner Badges

Foursquare's badge system got an upgrade today: a new "trophy case" plus a way for companies to be in the new Partner Badge program. A Trophy Case For Your Badges In the new trophy cases, which Foursquare blogged about today, you're now able to see all your badges plus separate them into groups, one group for Foursquare's own badges and another from partners: The screenshot above shows the top of my own trophy case and how all my badges are displayed at once. Foursquare's Badges Versus... If I click on the Foursquare tab, the view changes: Now I'm shown badges that I earned t [...]


Foursquare’s Crowley Can Feel Foursquare Fatigue, Has Plans To Fix It

Feeling Foursquare fatigue and perhaps wondering what's the point of checking in at times? Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley sometimes feels it too -- but he's got plans to keep you interested. More on that as well as turning Foursquare into a "product building machine," from my interview with him last week. Why Check In? I've had a few long-time Foursquare users I know tell me they're tired of the service, that they don't really find it as fun or interesting to check in any more. I've felt that way myself, at times. Maybe we're only a tiny slice of Foursquare's nearly 5 million users that [...]


Report: 7 Percent Of Mobile Internet Users Have Checked Out Location-Based Services

The Pew Internet Project published findings from a recent survey about usage of "location-based services" (LBS). According to the Pew data, 7 percent of mobile Internet users are on location-based services and 4 percent of all internet-using adults "use a service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby." These findings appear to track and validate an earlier Forrester Research survey that found 4 percent of online adults had used location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Other surveys have found [...]


Making Sense of Facebook Places

One of the questions that came up after the formal launch of Facebook Places last night was: how will this affect Google Places (among others)? As an aside, I have to say it's really strange that these products have nearly the identical name. It's almost like Honda offering a car with a particular name and then Toyota coming out with a car with the same model name. Of course Google Places and Facebook Places are currently different animals from a consumer perspective. You don't "check in" to Google Places. But Google has other products that perform a similar function (Latitude, Buzz) that i [...]


Foursquare In Discussions With “Everyone” To Enhance Search With Its Data

Twitter did it; now Foursquare is reportedly in discussions with Google, Yahoo and Bing to supply (or license) its check-in data as a search-enhancer. According to the UK's Telegraph: Our data generates hugely interesting trends which would enrich search," [Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis] Crowley said. "We can anonymise data and use it to show venues which are trending at that moment. Twitter helped the world and the search engines know what people are talking about. Foursquare would allow people to search for the types of place people are going to – and where is [...]


Friday Maps Mania: Street View Back In Europe, “Wi-Spy” Accusations In US, Mapquest Opens Up & Put Your Check-ins On The Map

With lots of mapping news today, we're combining it all into a single round up, which focuses largely on Google. The company decided, after suspending, examining and "scrubbing" its Street View equipment in Europe and elsewhere, to resume collecting imagery and related data in several countries: Having spoken to the relevant regulators, we have decided to start Street View driving in  Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden again starting next week. We expect to add more countries in time. Our cars will no longer collect any WiFi information at all, but will continue to collect photos and 3 [...]


Foursquare Will Make It Easier To Find Small-Town Deals

If you're using Foursquare to search for local offers and deals, you may soon find a lot more of them -- especially if you live outside of major cities. Foursquare announced yesterday that it's going to expand the reach of deals/offers in rural areas: The current location range for offers "nearby" is approximately 200 yards, but will, in the future, be variable based on the user's location. In more densely populated areas, 200 yards will provide adequate variability. In areas outside of cities, we're going to increase that range to provide better results for users in less densely popula [...]


Foursquare Hints At Evolution After Getting $20 Million

After a protracted set of M&A discussions with Yahoo and Facebook (and perhaps others), Foursquare announced that it had secured $20 million in funding from several VCs: Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. CEO Dennis Crowley discussed the funding and how it would be used in his blog post: With this new round of financing, our main priority will be to expand our organization to supplement the amazing core team we’ve assembled already (know any great engineers? send them our way!). We’re hoping to build a world-class engineering organization [...]


Live Blog: Right Time, Right Place – Location Services & Marketing

I'm at TWTRCON today, where the "Right Time, Right Place" panel will look at location services and marketing. We've got both Foursquare and Gowalla taking part. Who's talking in all: Moderator: Adam Ostrow, Editor in Chief, Mashable Matt Galligan, CEO, SimpleGeo Brad Nelson, Product Manager, Online Strategy, Starbucks Dennis Crowley, Co-Founder, Foursquare Josh Williams, CEO, Gowalla I'll be curious to hear Starbucks explain how they apparently have purchased ads to show up next to virtually every place I seem to check into these days. And we're off. First question to Brad [...]


Only 10% Of Businesses Would Pay For Foursquare: Survey

Only 10% of businesses that are currently using Foursquare as a free marketing tool are willing to pay for the service; that's one of the interesting survey results presented last week during the "Location Services: The New Local Search?" session at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle. Search marketers Will Scott (of Search Influence) and Mat Siltala (of Dream Systems Media) presented the results of what's believed to be the first survey of Foursquare advertisers -- a survey in May of 127 non-chain businesses across the U.S. Most of the respondents were from the restaurant and retail [...]


Panel: “The Big Picture With The Big Local Players”

At the Where 2.0 event in San Jose yesterday afternoon, Danny Sullivan moderated a panel entitled "The Big Picture from the Big Players." In addition to Danny it featured Blaise Agüera y Arcas (Microsoft), Tom Wailes (Yahoo!), John Hanke (Google, Inc.), Dylan Swift (Yelp). The session sought to cover a lot of ground in a very tight 35 minutes. Danny initiated the compressed session by asking the time-honored question about local online marketing and small business: "Why aren't local businesses getting it?" Interestingly most of the panelists disagreed with that chara [...]


Bing Maps Launches Foursquare Everywhere, World Tour & Oodle Rental Apps

Bing Maps is keeping busy at the Where 2.0 conference today, making several announcements and product rollouts. Here's a rundown of those announcements, and links to the Bing Maps blog posts will be at the end. First up is the Bing Maps World Tour, which shows all of the imagery updates that Bing Maps has pushed out going back to August 2009. At the same time, Bing Maps says it's just added two new imagery updates totaling more than 6.2 million square kilometers. (Or, as Wolfram Alpha would tell you, about 2.4 million square miles.) Second is news that Bing Maps has added a application c [...]


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