Ten Years On, Foursquare Is Now Checking In to You (featuring Jessica Vitak)

iSchoolNews - September 25, 2019

Ten Years On, Foursquare Is Now Checking In to You (featuring Jessica Vitak)

In a New York Magazine article by James D. Walsh, it states that “Foursquare’s revenue will surpass $100 million, a critical mile marker for any company on its way to a public offering. In fact its story of success is a perfect tech-industry parable: A charming, rickety, vintage-2000s social app that’s survived the last decade by evolving into a powerhouse enterprise data-extraction business. In 2014, Foursquare made a decision to shift its attention from its consumer apps to a growing business-to-business operation; five years later, 99 percent of Foursquare’s business comes from its software and data products. Its clients include Uber, Twitter, Apple, Snapchat, and Microsoft. The company is still shining brightly, not because location-based social networks or New York’s start-up scene have finally reached escape velocity, but because Foursquare had something that other start-ups didn’t: location technology rivaled by only Google and Facebook.”

Walsh continues, “The precision of Foursquare’s technology, and the added benefit of not doing business with one of the big-four tech companies, is what attracted clients like Uber and Snap to work with the company. (With about 350 employees, Foursquare has branded itself as an “independent alternative” to Google and Facebook.) Foursquare will not disclose how many of its clients share their own data (clients are not required to share), but it’s safe to assume the data being provided by its clients far outweighs the data being generated by holdout Foursquare City Guide users. All told, the company now has “interest profiles” for over 100 million U.S. consumers.

And yet — largely because of its relatively low profile — Foursquare has avoided the public backlash sparked by data privacy scandals like the one Facebook set off by the revelation it had partnered with Cambridge Analytica.”

“Foursquare is not the company it was five years ago,” says Jessica Vitak, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Communities and Information. “I think of Foursquare as a check-in service, but Foursquare is building up this tremendously detailed profile of me, of where I go day-to-day. These companies know everything about us and it’s not clear that they’re taking the proper steps to protect that data sufficiently.”

Read the FULL ARTICLE here.