If you’re a location-based service/platform/applications and launched before March 2009, I’m sure your shaking your head right now at all of the attention Foursquare has been receiving. But I would say that 90% of the attention has been positive for the entire location-based industry. Foursquare has brought a new sense of awareness and education to what is a location-based service and how one can be used for marketing, customer service, sales and more. Still if you’re Loopt which was founded in 2005, Gowalla founded in 2007, Whrrl founded in 2007 or Brightkite founded in 2007 you have to be shaking your head because now almost every time someone mentions a location-based application it is compared to Foursquare. Also for new location-based platforms launched since 2009 they’re not called “loopt clones” or “brightkite” copy cats they are called “Foursquare clones” and often that is not even the case.
How bad is it for other location-based platforms? Just take a look at a few blog post headlines below.
Looking at the headlines you have Facebook, GetGlue, MyTown/Booyah, Shopkick and Whrrl all mentioned in the same post title as Foursquare. Note I know sometimes bloggers just put foursquare in post titles for SEO reasons. But what happen in the 2-4 years when Loopt, Whrrl and Brightkite were the only location based apps around but didn’t become as popular as Foursquare has become today? I think some of it is luck for foursquare and the rest is timing, along with the genius behind @Dens and @naveen to launching foursquare at the moment when the world was ready for something different at SXSW 2009. Twitter has been out for 3 years and the geeks who have been using other location-based apps were ready for something new. Social Media/networks were main stream and everybody was excited to play a check-in game to become the mayor of their favorite location.
Fast forward to 2010 and start conversation on location-based apps and nine out of ten times Foursquare is mentioned first and most have never heard of the growing list of the 67 plus other location based applications. Even with TriOut when we start to have conversations with potential users or businesses to use our platform, although we are similar to Foursquare we have more features and compatibles, the next few words are often “you’re like foursquare” ….
But does this mean there’s no place for other location-based applications? No, both Loopt with 4 million users and MyTown with 3.1 million users have more than foursquare which has 2.6 million users but foursquare is growing at a rapid rate. It does mean that foursquare’s brand has expanded out of the geek bubble that left Loopt and Brighktie from becoming the standard for location-based application being launched 4 years before Foursquare. It also means that if you’re a new location-based application you have your work cut out for you to show your value and why should users check-in with your application vs foursquare alone. Good luck the other location-based applications and congrats Foursquare. As for TTriOut, we have a plan and stay tuned!