More off-topic: If you need a distraction this morning, here's an NYT article about why Think Coffee is enormously popular among South Koreans:
Then I realized that I should be archiving that data off-site and plotting it on a map for my readers to see. So I wrote a Python script (i.e., hacked together a Python script) that reads my Foursquare history KML feed every 30 minutes and then appends the data to a master KML file on my web server. I then use a plugin called jKMLMap to show my travels on a Google map on my site: http://raamdev.com/travels/#map
I think Foursquare has (had?) huge potential. The digital and the physical world are coming together and apps like Foursquare allow us to connect the two. The trick, as is the trick for any startup, is to figure out how you can monetize such a bridge. I thought the idea of allowing businesses to give away coupons for checking in or becoming the mayor was a great idea, but that's subject to abuse and I'm not sure how that makes Foursquare any money.
If Foursquare improved on features that allowed businesses to incentivize using Foursquare, and made such incentives worthwhile to patrons as well as businesses (product reviews, service reviews, maybe a way for patrons to offer suggestions to business owners for improving business, etc.), then I think Foursquare could save themselves, maybe by charging businesses for offering such features once there's a demand for them by users.
Any HNers with an optimistic view, and/or use Foursquare and think it's awesome?
If you read HN then you understand the benefit of reading users comments after you read an article. Foursquare lets you read users comments while you are visiting a location.
However I am not sure if/how this translates to profitability so I am not speaking to that end.
And, of course, I still like earning new badges.
edit for additional note:
If you have friends that use it heavily while on tours it is fun to track their travels. Follow an entire band or tv crew on tour and get anecdotes from different personalities live updated as they travel - it's like a real reality show in small doses.
I've noticed I get lots of little freebies when I check in via foursquare. Ie., $5-$10 off a meal if i use my amex, a free dessert etc. Lots of local businesses seem to have these hidden deals but they don't publicise them.
"Only" 20 million users? "Only"? The HN commentary is an interesting place these days.
When I looked at some business reviews on Foursquare (while traveling— was in Washington, DC area) it was disconcerting how a large majority of reviews seemed to be from 2009-10.
(I seriously thought Foursquare turned into Square as the news is full of Square and I had not heard anything about Foursquare until now.)
Mari Sheibley's work was a huge part of defining the culture/visual tone of 4sq early on. Interesting to see where they go from here.