Yesterday, AdAge reported on a new program being rolled out by the company with Visa and MasterCard that mirrors a program they have had in place for a while with American Express.
Looking to unlock a new revenue stream, Foursquare is announcing new partnerships with Visa and MasterCard that will let credit and debit card holders claim discounts at participating retailers.
The deal is essentially replicating what the company has had in place for going on two years with American Express, a program that enables people to “sync” their credit cards with Foursquare to claim discounts that appear as credits on their statements simply by checking in to a participating location.
Ironically, the first program that is rolling out will be with Burger King. While it may look like this is some kind of response to BK’s social media woes of late, it’s not. You can’t throw a program like this together in a week. This is just an interesting timing quirk, that’s all.
What was most intriguing about the article, though, was the assessment of Foursquare as a business. Let’s just say it’s not very flattering.
“This is going to be a pretty core part of our revenue model going forward,” [product manager Noah Weiss] said.
Foursquare’s assertion of a promising new revenue stream comes at a time when enthusiasm for the four-year-old startup among marketers and investors alike appears to be waning as user growth slows and its ad product — promoted “updates” from merchants — sees slow adoption. The Wall Street Journal reported in November that the company was looking to raise another $50 million and was having a tough time winning over investors.
As marketers it’s important to look at the long term viability of platforms that you invest time and resources in, correct? If Foursquare is showing signs of slowing down, especially in the wake of Facebook Nearby and Facebook’s Graph Search and Google Offers and (insert big competitor here), one has to wonder if this is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Heck, if investors are wary of throwing any more money at Foursquare should you be just as concerned as a marketer?
What are your thoughts?