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Geolocation-based social network Foursquare just might be the internet's 'next big thing'. While it isn't anywhere close to the size of Twitter or Facebook, the young company last month passed the million user mark.
That's a memorable milestone for any consumer internet startup, but the company's progress is perhaps better measured by the number of marketing deals it has inked with bigger companies. Here are 10 of those deals.
Cable television network Bravo turned to Foursquare to help drive its viewers to more than 500 locations associated with the network's shows. The incentive: badges right now; sweepstakes and awards in the future.
The Wall Street Journal
New York is competitor turf for the Wall Street Journal. So when the Journal launched a new metro section for New York, it decided that Foursquare was a good way to promote it. In addition to offering Journal-created badges for checking in to certain locations in the Big Apple, the Journal is using Foursquare to distribute some of its NYC-related content.
Before you 'check in' to a restaurant, restaurant guide publisher Zagat wants Foursquare users to be able to access its reviews, and provide their own suggestions to Foursquare followers as well. Of course, there's also an obligatory 'Foodie' badge involved that is earned when a Foursquare user checks into Zagat-rated restaurants.
MTV wants MTV and VH1 viewers to be able to track the moves of their favorite reality TV stars. Through MTV's relationship with Foursquare, personalities from shows such as Jersey Shore, The Hills, The City and Real World: New Orleans will receive 'celebrity mode' Foursquare accounts that are publicly accessible to fans.
Starbucks is one big brand that has embraced social media and so it's no surprise that it brewed up a presence on Foursquare. Caffeine addicts can become Foursquare 'Baristas' by checking in at five different Starbucks locations. Starbucks is also considering ways to reward customers who check-in.
One company that is already rewarding customers for checking in on Foursquare is yogurt chain Tasti D-Lite. It allows members of its TreatCards loyalty card program to earn extra points by connecting their TreatCards to their Foursquare accounts and letting the world know when they make a purchase.
Late last year, beverage giant Pepsi sponsored Foursquare's New York City leaderboard. For one week, Pepsi donated $0.04 to CampInteractive, a non-profit organization that helps inner-city youth build technology skills.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except when it's memorialized for all eternity by Foursquare. By checking in at the Miracle Mile Shops at the Planet Hollywood hotel, Foursquare users might not only get a Vegas-style reward, they might also find their name in lights, literally.
In an effort to get lucky during Fashion Week in New York this year, Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine teamed up with Foursquare to engage event-goers with information on the best local places for certain activities. The relationship is expected to expand past Fashion Week, with Foursquare being able to earn access to exclusive Lucky content related to fashion vendors in its 'Shopping Directory'.
In an effort to reach tomorrow's titans of industry and captains of finance, the Financial Times is giving Foursquare users who check in at targeted locations the ability to temporarily bypass FT.com's pay wall.
While it remains to be seen whether or not enough people will 'check in' to Foursquare to propel the service to Twitter or Facebook-like popularity it is evident that major brands are increasingly betting that geolocation-based social networks are worth experimenting with. Given the widespread usage of mobile phones in most parts of the world, there are probably far worse bets to make. As with everything, however, the brands that succeed and stand out will be those that create the most compelling experiences and if the above are any indication, there are a lot of interesting experiences to be created on services like Foursquare.
Photo credit: turoczy via Flickr.