Is Foursquare Working In The UK?
For PSFK editorial: Having spent the last couple of weeks across the UK, I noticed a complete absence of check-ins when I tried to use the social app Foursquare.
Does the PurpleList think that Foursquare is being used in the UK? Is use growing or are there challenges that it has to overcome?
Public unpaid question.
I don't have any hard stats, only circumstantial observations and experiences of my own, but I would say there's a really high churn rate on 4sq. A lot of people I know are registered, but no one's really using it on a regular basis. People sign up, play around with it for a week or two and then drop out, after concluding it's a bit dud. What's more worring for 4sq is that most of the trendy London innovators and early adopters are aware of it, tried it, and rejected it. If these guys haven't bitten they've never going to hit the tipping point on the adoption curve.
Check in fatigue is a real issue, and one I can relate to. I used it obsessively for 6 weeks, checking in everywhere I went, initially it was fun (sort of), but it quickly became tiresome and there's was little real value beyond the cheap thrill of a social broadcast.
Why is the experience so hollow?
1. There's not yet the critical mass of people on there to make it worthwhile (am I'm starting to doubt there ever will be).
2. As one of the other respondents mentioned, there are very few merchant deals on offer.
3. The whole mayor thing is a joke, most of the trendy spots are nailed down by a 4sq obsessive who you've got no hope of displacing
4. The recommendations of places to visit is really working as intended either.
There are however a lot of locations registered for businesses and cafes etc. which would indicate that people have in the past been keen to mark out their territory on the virtual 4sq map.
In summary, after all the initial hype generated by location based services such as foursquare in the last 18 months the dust is starting to settle. People are starting to work out where the true value lies, and many are starting to question what value it offers beyond the initial novelty value. In my opinion 'first generation' social check in services like 4sq won't make it in their current guise. It's only when they start to offer the kind of value that 'second generation' services like Groupon Now or Thinknear are doing in the states will they take off.
Foursquare still still a largely niche proposition in the UK. I usually live and work in Central London where there are regular check-ins and mayoral offers available. There are number of reasons for this. The creative classes are heavily centralised in London, much more than say the United States. London also is a much denser centre of population than the rest of the UK - so whilst Foursquare maybe only adopted by a small amount of the population there is a critical mass of users. Once you get outside the numbers of users drops significantly, I used Foursquare in Cardiff over the past few days and there were few local check-ins.
There seems to be a strong male bias to the UK Foursquare user base, I know in my office it is only the men that seem to use it regularly.
Foursquare's use is growing slowly, however the company doesn't seem to have the commercial team on the ground in the UK driving adoption by brands like the US. It has not managed to create the same kind of hype around the brand in the UK that it enjoyed in the US.
In summary I think that its UK future lies in one of two scenarios Foursquare may be a late developer in the UK like Twitter or may remain a niche but passionately loved product like Flickr in the future.
As far as I can tell - it was used initially but less so lately. Perhaps because the perceived benefits are not so apparent. It is however used by a small design/UX community who regularly adopt new Social Media tools. I think businesses here in the UK are slower to see the potential. It's also partly cultural. Use also appears to have declined since Facebook introduced places.