It was predicted the location-based social networking wave would crest over the summer. That wave has yet to happen. In July, I wrote the post, Foursquare Has 2million Users, But Where’s the Rewards? and it seems as though the geosocial sea is still calm. In fact from a recent Pew Internet Project survey , it is pretty clear there has been very little adoption by the masses. Pew found that only 4% of adults use location-based social networks.
Once you become mayor or earn badges then what? The fun of the game only lasts for a short-time and turns to boredom unless the user is given more tangible rewards such as discounts, coupons, or freebies. Many users are questioning the purpose of location-based social networks. I know my use of Foursquare has slacked off of recent. Is it check-in fatigue or lack of reason to do so? It is a mixture of both. I’m not getting any rewards. When I do check-in often the “specials nearby” tab comes up, but it is never for anything I want. That said I commend those retailers for using this function.
As I said in the July post, businesses have been slow to embrace location-based networks. These networks are now providing businesses with real time analytics about their visitors such as: most recent visitors, frequent visitors, time of day folks check-in, gender breakdown, and portion of check-ins shared on Twitter and Facebook. Businesses can use this information to gain and keep customers. The “specials nearby” function on Foursquare can lure new customers to their business. They can also use this information to reward repeat customers. This is all good useful stuff and full of opportunities. But yet it still seems to be the case that businesses are not embracing these platforms.
My questions to business owners:
Why aren’t you participating in location-based social networks?
And what are the barriers you are facing?
In order for location-based social networks to have longivatiy, businesses need to buy into them by providing real rewards to users. If not then a lot of users are left in words the PJ Harvey song, “Is That All There Is?” and will drift away.

Location:The Location-Based Wave That Isn’t

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