Thursday, July 10, 2014

How Foursquare lost me as a user

Anyone who has been to lunch with me in the past couple of years knows that I have a regular ritual. One of the first things that I do when I get to a restaurant is check in on Foursquare. Recently, as the try to find the sweet spot for engaging with their users and making money, Foursquare split their app into two, launching "Swarm". Swarm is designed for the people that use Foursquare to gather and find their friends. Meanwhile, Foursquare has been relegated to more map exploration functionality.

From one I've read, Foursquare believes that their user base falls into two very distinct camps, the ones that are all about gathering with their friends and the map explorers. Me, I have all of about five friends on Foursquare, and most of them don't use it very much -- if at all. So when I first learned about Swarm, it was pretty clear to me that I was not the target audience. Not something I was planning to download -- despite the pop-ups that started appearing in the Foursquare app.

But then, about a week or so ago, when I went to check in at a restaurant, the Foursquare app told me that there was no more check-ins in Foursquare. That feature had been disabled. The funny thing was, I didn't think of it much the first time I came across it, but the second time I tried to check in a couple of days later, it kind of pissed me off. That check-in process, with all of it's associated historical metrics, had become a data set that I found interesting. And it was gone.

I emailed Foursquare, but they eventually contacted me and suggested that I use Swarm. They might has well have suggested that I use Yelp. Something about the "change this process" that I'm just not willing to do. Almost like, if Levis suddenly quit making pants in my size and suggest instead that I take the next size up and wear a belt. Something in that message is basically saying, "we're done."

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