Location-based check-in provides social networks with a way of gaining revenue through the delivery of rewards, discounts and other offers on behalf of physical stores and other businesses such as restaurants and bars.
"What is so appealing about this concept is that it mixes social networking and advertising in a proposition where the value benefit is obvious to consumers," said Eden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum. "It also uses location technology in a way that is simple, intuitive and of course social."
But it's not all good news. Ms Zoller observed "We are witnessing a mobile social commerce gold rush but many of the companies coming to the market are doing so with 'me too' propositions. The wide availability of such undifferentiated services and growing competition could create fall-out."
While Foursquare is the poster child for such services, "Facebook's entry into the market [Facebook Deals] is significant as it has the scale and influence that could make the concept mainstream. When Facebook introduces new features its members take note and try them," she said.