This was originally posted on Ogilvy's Travel and Tourism blog. I realize most of the people who read this blog already know about Foursquare. But for my father ...
Foursquare is an interesting, fun and [at times] useful service that’s gotten some solid buzz in the last few months. It’s the brainchild of the folks who brought us the one-time Internet service darling, Dodgeball. I found this article from the New York Future Initiative which does a nice job of explaining the service, and the creators’ vision for what it might become.
With the ever-growing buzz, I thought you might appreciate the skinny …What it is
Foursquare describes itself as 50% friend-finder, 30% social cityguide, 20% nightlife game, though my personal bias is that [at least for the time being] it’s more game.
How it works
A player checks in with Foursquare when they are out and about at a restaurant, bar, museum, movie theater, etc. Checking in earns you points. Points earn status [e.g, I was for a fleeting moment the Mayor of the Bowery Hotel Bar]. You can also earn badges for doing interesting things, like checking in at odd times or out-of-the-way places.
For now points/badges only get you bragging rights, though clearly that will change at some point [e.g., Ian checked in 5 times at Old Town Social, earning him a free cocktail].
How you "play"
Where it works
At the time of this post, Foursquare is available in: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.
If you’ve got an iPhone, I recommend giving it a whirl - nothing to lose. If you’re a marketer, you should take a peak under the hood so you understand the possibilities when Foursquare [inevitably] opens for [paid] business. If you’re a business in one of the cities above [particularly in a hipster neighborhood] maybe play around with rewarding patrons for checking in from your store/bar/restaurant.
It’s not there yet, and may never be. But I continue to hear the buzz …