Thursday, 31 March 2011 11:02

Foursquare clones spreading. but Facebook may dominate

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Mobile check-in services such as Foursquare are "overhyped" according to an industry analyst firm.


While location-based check-in services are an important development in mobile social networking, they are "overhyped" according to industry analyst firm Ovum.

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.

 

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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