Foursquare Now with Events Check-ins. Meh!

In a widely anticipated move, Foursquare yesterday introduced event check-ins. I am not really impressed.
This post is by for Event Manager Blog (?).

You know I asked for this feature badly and we finally got it. Time to celebrate right? Not quite. Gianfranco made me aware this morning that the all time favourite geolocation service made the move.

It’s kind of when you bet and win. Think if Google really buys Plancast, I’d be thrilled.

The Official Announcement

I headed to Foursquare’s Blog and found the announcement. Here is where my disappointment starts.

Only for Big Companies

Let’s take a look:

To build that on a larger scale, though, we needed to be smarter about what’s happening around you. So we’ve teamed up with three amazing partners: ESPN for sports events, for movies, and Songkick for concerts.

First let down is that the feature is limited to the above companies and for the above type of events. I agree they need to be smart on how to build it on a large scale, but it does not sound like a test for the masses, rather a test for large companies to use Foursquare more. The smaller organizer of conferences or meetups will gain little benefit from this. Why event planners were not included? On a side note, I didn’t know movies were events.

Apparently I am not the only one thinking it this way as Foursquare updated the post with the following statement:

UPDATE: Thanks for all the questions in the comments. We’re thinking about venues and users creating events, but want to make sure we do it right. We’ll let you know when we figure out what it should look like!

Still Tied to Venues

I panicked when I read:

Now, when you check in to a place with one of those things happening, you’ll be able to check in to the event, too. It’s a great way to include big events and save the shout-typing time, without creating too much clutter in our UI. And we’re looking at ways to expand that further.

It can’t be like that. Events cannot be tied to venues. Who owns the event? Is it the venue or the event organizer? The venue usually gets paid by the event professional to host the event. How can events be a subset of venues? In my humble opinion events should be separate from venues, they need a category, their own identity.

In Conclusion

I have 3 questions:

– Why large companies? Were you in such a hurry to launch the feature that the only (safe) way to do it was with large companies? This is so distant from the average Joe – owner of a coffee shop. Individual users and small businesses made Foursquare a success and companies were not involved in your incredible growth. This is not a way to make things right, how can this be a test of features that users will implement in a completely different way.

– Why movies? Who plan events like movies? Nobody does, movies are not events. They are spontaneous gathering in a room that has been cleaned 3 to 6 times a day. I have never met a movie coordinator. I understand there may be a need to check into movies, but don’t sell it to me like an event.

– Why venues? If you had researched a bit, you would have known that the major criticism in relation to events was the fact that they were tied to venues. In fact, let me break the news to you, you did not add anything new. Users were already adding events to venues. Maybe you did not call them like that, but users did.

Therefore I am not happy, but I have faith. I have dealt with Foursquare as a user and I know they are responsive. I am sure that once the big announcement hype is gone they will realize that telling users that they partnered with ESPN results in a big meh and that only by giving solutions to small businesses and proactive users they’ll win our hearts.

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of, he is an international speaker and author of The Good Event Registration Guide and Event App Bible.

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