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.
Foursquare has pulled ahead of competitor Gowalla in the geo-location battle, announcing this weekend that the service handles one million check-ins per day. In addition to the recent funding news, Foursquare is doing pretty well of late. But considering all the players trying to get a piece of the check-in pie (Google, Microsoft, Yelp, to name a few), Foursquare is going to have to work hard to retain its marketshare.
An important, as yet unsolved part of the geolocation puzzle is going to be the content on these respective services. Foursquare made its name (and won most of those check-ins) by tapping into people's competitive impulses.
But many potential users aren't going out every night trying to meet up with friends. To tap into the pool of potential users who aren't young urbanites, Foursquare is trying to build out its utility as a one player game.
That's exactly what this new partnership hopes to achieve. According to Gigaom:
"Foursquare and the Independent Film Channel have teamed up to create a travel guide using the same kind of crowdsourcing philosophy, providing a glimpse of what curated user reviews combined with real-time location can produce. The guide, which appears on the Foursquare website, includes recommendations from users of the location-based service as well as fans of the IFC, and Foursquare users who check in to more than three of the locations in the guide get a special badge."
As others have pointed out, this is a great strategy for marketers. According to Mashable:
"It's not hard to imagine any number of organizations mobilizing their constituents to mark-up the physical world like this."
But it's also a great move for Foursquare. As I've noted before, the next step for all of these mobile location companies will be filling out their content to a point where users can reliably depend on it.
By letting companies import their own data onto the network, Foursquare is making its service much more functional for individuals looking for information about different local venues. The gaming aspects of Foursquare may be a way to get people into the notion of checking-in, but if Foursquare can actually populate its vast network with detailed and useful information for users wherever they are, there might be a lot more reason for people to stick around.