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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Foursquare Coming to St. Louis this Fall! ... Maybe.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 8:58 AM

The popular social location game Foursquare is coming to St. Louis this fall. At least, that's what one of its founders Dennis Crowley hopes.

I've been hearing about Foursquare since the South by Southwest Interactive conference last spring where apparently it made a big impression on the attendees. It generated almost as much buzz as Twitter did in 2007. I attended that year and one of the reasons Twitter was so popular then was that it was a quick and easy way to let your friends know where you were and what you were doing at any given time. Which made it a very useful tool to have at a big multi-day, multi-venue event like SXSW. 

crunked badge
  • crunked badge
Foursquare takes that concept one step further in that it gives you an easy way to update your location (as easy as clicking a button if you use the iPhone app). Ok ... that's nothing new so far, right? Because Brightkite and Google Latitude do this already.

What makes Foursquare unique and fun is that it makes your social activities into a game complete with rewards. For instance, if you check into a place on a regular basis you become a "Mayor" of that place. If you do things like go out to bars three or more nights in a row, you'll get a bender badge. Three or more places in one night and you get a crunked badge. Show up somewhere with two or
Bender badge
  • Bender badge
more of your friends of the opposite sex and you become a player with the requisite badge on your profile, and it goes on like that.

You can also create a list of things you would like to do, or things you recommend etc. Of course the natural extension of this creates all kinds of opportunities for businesses to engage with people and create buzz around them and reward loyalty (Mayors happy hour anyone?). Something I'm sure the Foursquare guys are thinking about.

So does this sound like fun? Want to try it out? Have you already downloaded the iPhone app and are ready to go? Hold your horses. The problem with all this is that Foursquare isn't available in St. Louis yet. It initially launched in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Austin. They've since expanded to several other cities including Denver and Detroit. Yes, as Punching Kitty pointed out, Detroit inexplicably ranked higher than St. Louis on the developers priorities.

So I sent Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley an email and asked him when they planned on launching in St. Louis. He emailed me back almost immediately. He said that they were just a two man operation that was a little overwhelmed by the sudden popularity to Foursquare and they were scrambling to hire help to expand. He said that ideally they would like to launch in St. Louis in time for the start of the school year, but it seems more realistic that it won't happen until the end of October or maybe later.

So, maybe we'll get to try Foursquare out by Halloween.  

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