Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Ah, So That’s What You’re Supposed to Do With Foursquare!

“Web company has a video.” I know. But this one, posted this week by Foursquare, is worth thinking about for a second. It’s directed at new users, but anyone who visits the homepage and isn’t logged in will see it.

“Save money and unlock rewards” based on stuff you and your friends like. Now that sounds like a pretty interesting service.

And one that makes a whole lot more sense than “You’re supposed to ‘check in’ when you go some place. And also you might get a ‘badge’ or something,” which is where Fourquare has been for most of the past three years.

Of course, during that time Foursquare has racked up plenty of gaudy growth statistics, and big piles of VC money, and seems to have fended off would-be competitors from Gowalla to Facebook to Google. So you could argue that they’ve been communicating just fine, thank you very much.

But even though everyone you know knows about Foursquare, 15 million users — and a much smaller, and undisclosed, number of active users — isn’t close to a full-on mainstream service. So this kind of messaging is important as the company tries to grow into something much bigger.

Also important: Actually delivering on the promise of the video above. The idea is that you give Foursquare lots of data about what you like and what you do, and it offers up value to you in return, in the form of suggestions, or deals, etc.

We’re starting to see glimpses of that now, but my sense is that this is still more aspirational than anything else, and that Foursquare’s management and backers agree. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, in a meta post where he comments about someone else’s comment about his video, hints that there’s much more to come. Fun to watch.

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo