Recently, the location-sharing site Foursquare announced that it had surpassed 3 million registered users. Since it launched in March 2009, I prayed that this new fad would quickly fade away. Who in their right mind would want to share their location?
The future of privacy was at stake. In March of this year, Twitter rolled out a feature which enabled users to include a place as part of their tweets. Following this trend, Facebook launched Facebook Places, which allowed its 500 million users to check-in to places, similar to Foursquare. Armageddon is around the block.
“So, how has this inconceivable trend continued to grow?” I wondered. Apparently, one way Foursquare has garnered more users is by rewarding them with discounts to places like Starbucks and Pizza Hut.
It gets worse.
Non-monetary rewards appear to be an even more effective lure. For example, if you check-in enough times at certain places, you are named “mayor” of that location. According to Foursquare,
A mayor in foursquare is the user with the most number of *days* with check-ins at a specific place within the past 60 days. Only one check-in per day counts towards your mayorship tally. If you have a lot of check-ins that seem fake or consistently far away from where you are checking in, these check-ins will not count towards the mayorship total. Lots of businesses are now offering specials for the mayor of venues, so be sure to keep a look out for specials nearby when you’re looking at the places tab in the app.
It gets worse.
If becoming mayor of your local deli doesn’t sound appealing enough, you can also win various badges by going to certain locations many times. Check-in to the gym three times a week? You get a Gym Rat badge. Check-in to school every day like you are supposed to? You get a Non-Truant badge.
The last one isn’t real by the way.
So, tell me. Do you check-in using services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places?
Photo by Christian Scholz