My final check-in: a farewell letter to foursquare

foursquare logoDear friends of foursquare,

After over 4 years and some, and not far away from having done 4,000 check-ins through the app, in places -literally- all over the world – I’m checking out. Permanently.

You may want to know why.

I was a late adopter, since I didn’t see the point when others were already jumping for it.
Then I was enthused by your co-founder Naveen, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person at a conference in Amsterdam back in May 2011, and you got me hooked. Big time.

I invited friends and checked in everywhere. Short of recording bathroom visits.

The gamification aspect of getting points for check-in’s and foursquare badges, and the friendly competition with your foursquare friends list were addictive, to say the least.
Sure: from time to time I got a nice tourist tip through the app for the location I was visiting. Or I could quickly find a good place to have pizza close-by.
The special deal feature never really hit ‘critical mass’ here in Belgium, save in a few large cities. Even in other European metropolises it was rather rare to hit a relevant special.

But that was OK. Because foursquare was my playful way to keep track of my movements, discover places and ‘compete’ with my buddies.

Edit: And let’s not forget: the thrill and pride of being the ‘Mayor’ of a place you love. I fought some hard-won battles over popular places to call them ‘mine’!

First you killed the points and ranking system. Maybe I missed the memo, but one day they were gone without much notice. I never understood why. Was someone offended by his low score? Why kill the fun part?

Edit: You also failed to introduce new exciting badges for social activities or special check-in’s that could have somewhat compensated for the loss of scoring points.

Then you started bugging me over the past months with a forced migration to Swarm, which I held off until you didn’t leave me any choice if I still wanted to check in.

And today, you’ve decided to become Yelp, apparently. (Why? What’s more appealing than being yourself in becoming someone else’s original?) And to -quite opportunistically- manhandle your users into a Yelp-clone experience (since that beats having to build a customer base from scratch?).

If the business model of people just checking in wasn’t sustainable, I could understand you’d consider closing shop. But I don’t believe that converting your business into a hair salon because your car workshop wasn’t making any money is a sound strategy. Time will tell. I wish you good luck.

I’m getting off the bus at this stop.

As I made the effort for over 4 years to share my locations on Facebook and twitter from foursquare rather than directly in those platforms, I now have to make up my mind if I accept Facebook’s far-from-perfect check-in functionality.

But I’m really not going to do it in Swarm. My bad.

Friendly greetings,

P.S. I’ll keep my account as a record of those thousands of check-ins with often great memories.


Sociaal digitaal van het eerste uur. Marketing/communicatie- en mensenleider met een hart. Altijd zoekend naar waarde(n).

Geplaatst in digital
3 comments on “My final check-in: a farewell letter to foursquare
  1. Remittance Girl schreef:

    Well said. I felt exactly the same and did exactly the same thing. The minute an app’s business model gets in the way of a user’s enjoyment in using it, it’s dead.

    They may not have been making a lot of revenue before, but I predict, before the year is out, they’ll be making virtually none.


  2. Patrick Tyrus schreef:

    at least yelp lets you check in. Heck you can write reviews and see info all in one place.


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