But Foursquare’s deal with Starbucks points to an inconvenient truth about scaling a check-in service: for check-ins to have real value, they need to be incentivised. And real incentives come through partnerships laboriously hashed out by a strong biz dev team.
That means it’s going to take more than snappy engineers, pretty badges, or even tons of users, for a company to win the war for check-ins. It’s going to take a strong salesforce that can offer users lots and lots of coupons and making checking-in worth their while.
From: "Foursquare keeps up the buzz | Tech Blog | FT.com."
The irony of a scalable, viral social app that requires an enterprise team to close revenue is thoroughly enjoyable to anyone who's lived/worked through a Valley startup and heard echoing down the corridors of Sand Hill Road: "Yeah, but will it scale?" or "Don't worry about revenue, just get users."
I'm looking forward to the day when startups (some, not all, the old early 2000's model of virality is still useful) focus more on maximizing VALUE per individual user rather than scaling a service that has less than 5% repeat, 'regular' users.
Thesis: With geolocation and check-ins, the 'quality' of your users (where they go, how often) will matter more than the quantity.
If you are Foursquare for example, consider this example of individual user value: a loyal user may check-in 7+ times weekly.
This user is more valuable than 5 other users who check-in, on average, 1x a week.
With check-ins and other real-time data capture services, all of a sudden recidivism matters (again).
After the novelty of checking in wears off, the company providing that service better be able to build in real-life perks (geopromotions, coupons for 1$ off my Frappuccino, etc) to keep you coming back.
Check-ins are essentially confirmations of life events (places we go, people we're with).
And this requires, gasp, a focus on individual user loyalty and utility over time, offered in the context of an intensely personal contextual data firehose.
Foursquare's badges, leaderboard, and mayor awards were a good early strategy to get users comfortable with the check-in behavioral pattern, but now they'll need to move past virtual incentives to real-world goodies.
Fortunately for Foursquare (and friends), most of us fill our days with an endless parade of comings and goings to lighten the tyranny of hours.
The brilliance of their platform is that it captures the underutilized asset of how we spend a portion of the 10,080 minutes we're each allotted weekly.
The question will increasingly be whether or not it's worth my while to burn 21 or so of those minutes checking in (3 mins/checkin, 7x weekly).
"Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once. " ~Lillian Dickson
Because as Lee explains, the "check-in" is going to be a commodity in a matter of months -- everyone will have a "check-in" feature, ranging from the likes of Foursquare to Facebook and Google. It's what happens after the check-in that is going to be valuable, Lee says, and he and Booyah plan to use location data specifically to make games.
From: "Booyah! Foursquare Rival Raises Huge $20 Million Round From Accel (AAPL)."
Geolocation and personal identification combined = 'here I am,' or a 'check in' format.
However, if you're a Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, or MyTown user, you may have found that after the honeymoon period of seeing yourself show up on a map or leaderboard wears off, there's little incentive to continue broadcasting your location.
Also, constant check-ins, like constant micro-blog updates via Twitter, may serve to highlight for some of us the banality of our everyday routines.
How can the places we go become a game? An asset?
How can a list of the places we go, subjectively selected and entered - become both a personal experiential (n=1) asset and a clinically relevant population-health (n=
A note on the subjectivity/self-selection check in process and clinical utility...I've yet to see any friends check in at meth clinics or strip clubs, although both of these behaviors might be an important piece of evidence in the clinical record.
If you use these sites and services, what incentivizes you to 'check in?'
Are there any incentives you can imagine that would move you to 'check in' for healthcare related transmission of personal data to direct and unplugged to your health record?
People talk about location-based advertising, but location removes the need for advertising," said Seth Goldstein, co-founder of SocialMedia.com. "If you know where the consumer is, and that she is physically touching your brand, then you do not need to rely upon traditional mass-media channels to reach her.
From: "Facebook Poised to Take Geo-Networking Mainstream - Advertising Age - Digital."
Even better, what if the consumer is physically doing something *beneficial* with your brand? Walking? Running? Lifting? Dancing? :)
Thank you *so much* for your patience as we fumbled through figuring out features that will make your user experience better.
You gave us plenty of suggestions on how to improve Get Up and Move (GUAM) via Twitter, Facebook, and our Uservoice Feedback Forum.
Our challenge was to digest and categorize all those comments and figure out how to combine them into 'best use' design.
We're ridiculously pleased to announce our next big version is LIVE!
Amazingly, the "birth" of Get Up and Move's latest version occurred on the same exact day as the birthday of my newest niece!!!
Last night, while I was walking around with my sister Kate, who was having contractions, my cofounder Andrey was readying your new platform for healthier microchoices.
At about 2am, my niece Ava was born (7lbs 11 ounces!). At about 2:30 am, Andrey sent me an email. Here it is (with some commentology from moi):