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