Foursquare fans – those who find Facebook updates too static and oh-so-2009 – will soon “check in” to learn that the geosocial networking site has executed partnerships with several media brands, according to Mashable.
Foursquare, which runs on mobile devices and leverages their GPS locators, takes status updates to another level: As the New York Times describes the service, it’s not about what you’re doing right now, but “Where are you, and can I come join you?”
A Foursquare user “checks in” at her current location so friends know where to find her. Foursquare encourages frequent check-ins by presenting itself like a game, offering virtual badges that are unlocked by visiting particular venues. Many of these venues, along with their related brands, offer their own badges, as well as tangible rewards such as discounts or freebies.
Earlier this month, the Bravo network launched several badges branded for a number of their shows, joining local newspapers and universities as Foursquare content partners. This latest round of partnerships include a diverse set of recognizable brands: Zagat, Warner Bros., HBO, the History Channel, and ExploreChicago. The partnership with Zagat is particularly valuable because of Zagat’s brand strength and depth as an authority on restaurants and other entertainment venues (and also to counter Yelp’s own version of check-ins).
Foursquare is not yet a year old, and though the concept initially had “urban hipster” written all over it, the service grew, according to sources, from 60,000 users in October to 170,000 by the end of the year.
Clearly, the number of mainstream brands jumping on board bodes well for Foursquare this early into the “year of location,” but will it be the leader of the latest social-networking shift, or simply, in the words of one marketing and communications professional, a limited-appeal “Dungeons and Dragons community”?