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As individuals become more and more accustomed to sharing personal information with social networking sites, it’s easy to see how this free and easy exchange of information can be abused.
FourSquare, though entertaining and potentially useful for tips on the places around you and figuring out where your online friends are, does raise some security issues.
For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I recently joined Foursquare, admittedly to try and find out what all the fuss was about.
In actual fact I think it could provide great value to a lot of businesses, as well as certain individuals trying to promote a cause or product.
Five years ago, one of the last things an entrepreneur with a hot consumer internet startup wanted to hear was "Google is launching a new service just like yours." It's 2010, and that has changed to "Facebook is launching a new service just like yours."
But that's precisely what Dennis Crowley, the founder of the increasingly popular location-based service Foursquare, recently heard.
Facebook's foray into location-based services launched last night. And while Places borrows heavily from existing services available on Yelp, Foursquare and Gowalla, one difference is the way that Facebook plans to grow its new product.
Facebook Places check-ins will be shared with users' entire network of friends. And if users wish, they can check other people into locations. Perhaps predictably, there are some privacy issues with this approach. But it ensures that people who may not otherwise interact with Places are sure to know it exists. And unless objections arise, Facebook's appraoach should be great for user adoption.
Much has been written about the benefits of location-based services for small businesses, but national chains are no stranger to mobile technologies. And Fast food chains are taking note as consumers adapt to new mobile practices.
With mobile apps, text to order service and location based marketing messages, fast food companies are learning that mobile is very good for business.
According to Forrester Research, a service is only as powerful as its reach. And considering that only 4% of U.S. online adults have used location-based mobile apps, marketers should keep away.
Even if these services were approaching their adoption limits, that would be bad advice. As it stands, location-based services are just getting started. And smart marketers are getting in now.
The rise of social networking services like Facebook has created significant digital privacy concerns. And new geolocation-based services like Foursquare are creating a whole host of new concerns.
But privacy doesn't necessarily have to be a touchy subject for today's most prominent social networks. Prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson, whose firm has invested in Twitter and Foursquare, thinks that there may actually be an opportunity for companies to charge their users for additional privacy safeguards.
Is Foursquare about to go 'mainstream' like Twitter before it? The Telegraph thinks so.
In terms of size, Foursquare is still just a baby. Its growth is impressive and it just surpassed 2m registered users, but in the overall scheme of things, that's still a relatively small number. But soon, Foursquare and Twitter may share a potentially important business accomplishment: deals with major search engines.
Foursquare is getting a leg up in the geo-location wars. And I'm not talking about its recent cash infusion of $20 million — though that certainly won't hurt. Today, the company announced a partnership with the Independent Film Channel that will help populate Foursquare with IFC approved tips and information.
If Foursqaure wants to broaden its user base — a must if it expects to break out of its niche demographic of techie fans — this is exactly the kind of content strategy the company needs.
Location offers businesses of all sizes a real opportunity to streamline and improve their entire customer experience, fully integrating web and print offers with simple, convenient payment and collection options. Coupons are a good start, but it remains to be seen which companies will make the most of location.
Geo-location is a hot ticket item right now, with companies large and small getting into the social check-in game. But the gaming features of are only one aspect of geo-location. According to the founders of Gowalla and Foursquare, geo-targeting is going places with all that information their companies are collecting.
At TWTRCON in New York on Monday, the "Right Time, Right Place" panelists were focused on what comes after socializing via geo-location.
Imagine being able to visit a local business, 'check-in' by taking a picture proving you've made a purchase and receive rewards, including points that can be exchanged for cold hard cash. Looking to cash in on the rise of location-based services like Foursquare, a new service called WeReward wants to bring that experience to the masses.
The pitch to business owners: we'll get consumers to buy from you and give you a way to reward them for their "patronage." WeReward describes its service as "a global loyalty program that you control locally."