Foursquare has always been the leader in the location check-in app battle. For a little while, though, Gowalla was looking like some real competition. Then Facebook bought Gowalla and on March 10, 2012, they shut them down.
This would seem like good news for Foursquare but it might just be a sign of the times. A sign that location-based check-ins aren’t on trend anymore.
Earlier this month, Foursquare’s CEO Dennis Crowley spoke with TechCrunch about the future of the business.
“People are using the app, but they’re not checking in. I asked myself: did we break something? But in fact, it’s because people are using Foursquare to look for where their friends are, to find things, and as a recommendation service. It’s almost like it doesn’t occur to them to check in.”
This would appear to be bad news, but Crowley says it’s just the nature of the beast. And instead of fighting the crowd, they’re going with it, shifting the emphasis from check-ins to recommendations and content.
Kudos to Crowley for seeing the need and rolling with it. There have been those before him that refused to give up on their vision, even when the audience made it clear they wanted different glasses.
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So while Foursquare may not be going the way of their competitor Gowalla, it does make you wonder about the whole concept of location-based check-ins. Now that the novelty has worn off, are we done with them? Google obviously doesn’t think so since they recently added check-in to their Latitude service.
For me, it’s all about the “gimmie.” If you want me to check-in on your platform, you’ll have to offer me something more than a kick up the leaderboard or a virtual sticker. Give me points for prizes or instant deals and then maybe I’ll let you know where I stand — literally.