When The Social Network was released last October the co-founder and chief executive of geo-location firm Foursquare, Dennis Crowley, took his entire staff to a nearby cinema to watch the tale of how a simple web site changed the world.
In the scene where Mark Zuckerberg and his staff watch a counter reaching one million members, and have a party to celebrate, Crowley tells V3.co.uk that he turned to co-founder Naveen Selvadurai and said: "How come we didn't do anything like that?"
If Crowley wants a party, though, there's no shortage of excuses he could use. The site is rapidly approaching 10 million members and its users logged half a billion 'check-ins' in 2010, including one by a NASA astronaut in space.
Check-ins are the lifeblood of Foursquare. They are how users tell friends on the site where they are, and this information can be posted to Twitter and Facebook so that those not on Foursquare can still see where they are at that exact moment.
Members can gain loyalty rewards from locations they visit regularly, read or leave tips on restaurants, bars, hotels, train stations, basically anything, and receive badges and points for the places they visit to make the service more, well, fun.
Half a billion check-ins - the benefits for businesses
Half a billion check-ins clearly means that Foursquare has access to a huge wealth of data that could offer huge benefits for businesses, but Crowley acknowledges more education is needed to really make it clear what these benefits could be.
"Businesses understand what geo-location is, but not how to leverage it. Location services are similar to social media a couple of years ago. Businesses were on Twitter or Facebook but didn't know why. Now they get it," he said.
"You can see businesses using Twitter to have a playful dialogue with customers, but the metrics we can offer mean we can not only encourage this playfulness but give businesses the chance to encourage loyalty, drive new customers and offer specials."
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