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."
Google may not be at the front of the current geolocation charge, but that doesn't mean the search giant isn't interested in taing over. This week Google announced a new feature that it hopes will make users more comfortable sharing their location with Google.
The Google Location History Dashboard gives Latitude users a snapshot of where they've been. That data may just provide some utility for users (and get people more comfortable using Google's location service).
Rumors of Foursquare's acquisition may be greatly exaggerated. Speaking in New York on Monday at Startup 2010, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley was busy making the case for his company staying independent.
Will the company sell in the near future? It's unclear. But to hear Crowley tell it, Foursquare doesn't particularly need a large organization to keep it afloat. In fact, he seems to think Foursquare would be better off not selling.
Foursquare is on a roll. It's got heathly user adoption and very desirable demos, a growing roster of major brands who want to team up for promotions, and plenty of love from the media (not to mention endless speculation about potential suitors?
Now, the white-hot location-based social service is facing problems very much in keeping with the ones Twitter faced at this stage in its development: scale. A word that rhymes with both "fail" and "whale", perhaps the most infamous error page in recent internet memory, and an emblem of how difficult it can be for small start-ups to keep up with rapid growth.
If you're a local merchant with a bricks-and-mortar presence, it's time to kiss the yellow pages goodbye. There's no longer any excuse for not having a web presence or for ignoring digital marketing. Eighty-two percent of people use search engines to find information about local businesses - more than any other media. Even if you don't have a website (you should, but that's another story), there are six sites no local business can afford to ignore.
Not only is getting listed dead simple, it's a great leveler. If you own a pizza place, you can compete head-to-head with national chains like Dominos. Hardware? Go up against Home Depot and Lowes. You get the idea.
Claiming your business and getting listed and on all five of the Big Six should only take an hour or so (though most require you wait for a postcard or phone call o verify that you are who you say you are). Once you've enlisted, and taken advantage of some of the special features these sites offer (mostly for free), you'll reap many advantages. You'll have a presence in organic search results, not only on the web, but also on mobile platforms.
You can offer special deals and inducements to lure new business, you can encourage positive reviews and, to a degree, manage your online reputation. You can precisely map your location and help people to find it, and broadcast your hours of operation. And you'll have access to analytics that can inform you of the keywords used to find your business, the time of day people search for you and other data that can help improve your online presence, offers and advertising and promotional campaigns.
With a near-zero investment of time and money, there's absolutely no excuse to not get started with The Big Six.