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I personally use Foursquare for nothing more than tracking my travels. Initially, I checked into places just so that I could go back and look at my Foursquare history to remember where I was and when I was there.

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.




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