On March 11, 2009 @dens and @naveen launched Foursquare.

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby.Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”. “Foursquare (website).” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Sept. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2011.

My Foursquare badge list a.k.a trophy list. I recall it was only available in large market cities at first then it eventually launched in the smaller markets. When I signed up I was User ID: 161,321. In 2010, the Foursquare user base grew at an exponential rate of 3,400% and they had a total of six million users signed up! The number of users has greatly increased since that blog post.

My first Foursquare check-in. 2,495 check-ins, and 170 badges later, Foursquare has become an integral part of my social media interaction with the world. On my recent vacation at the end of June first part of July, I shared the highlights of my vacation with those who follow me. Foursquare has allowed me to discover different places in cities I would have never seen had it not been for a user’s tip or suggestion. If you frequent a location enough you can eventually become the “mayor” of the venue. Some businesses offer discounts and specials for the mayor. I went to a barbershop this past Saturday and the special there was on your first check-in you receive a t-shirt. I thought it was pretty cool promo, one of the best I’ve seen so far.

Typically your initial check-in at a business location can earn you something like 15% off, or something similar. Usually when I go to check-in I generally see anywhere 29 to 30 specials available in the immediate surrounding vicinity. More and more businesses are seeing the value of having a presence on Foursquare. Previously, a business page had to be created by the Foursquare staff. Recently they started to allow end users to create their own business page on Foursquare. I’ve established a business page for my father’s company on Foursquare and I must say setup was quite easy and user friendly. If you submit at least five tips then your business page will be shuffled in the mix with the featured business pages on Foursquare. I bet they have the algorithm tweaked to look for the businesses who offer the most tips so I’d put as much as possible. In a short amount of time, Foursquare has established itself as the dominate location based check-in application. Other options such as Gowalla, Google Latitude, and the now defunct Facebook Places have not fared as well as some had projected they would. Gowalla for example, actually chose to join forces with Foursquare and are currently in the middle of making big changes to shift their focus from location based check-in to re-focus on travel with guides, and stories. As it stands now, the future of location based check-in appears to solely be in the hands of Foursquare. Businesses always mention Facebook and Twitter as their social media outlets of choice. What they don’t realize, Foursquare can offer them just as much if not more customer interaction and traffic to their brick and mortar store front or even their domain.

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