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Foursquare efforts to increase user relevance must avoid pitfalls

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Eden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum has the following comment: "With 15 million users having checked in over 1.5 billion times and with support from 750,000 merchants, Foursquare is now looking to the next level of contextual personalization to drive its business. Certainly the location-based social network has a lot of user data to leverage and it now plans to use that data to pro-actively suggest things that Foursquare users can do and see in a their vicinity.

"This would function in a similar way to the old Microsoft Clippy "office assistant" service for its desktop applications, creating what co-founder Dennis Crowley describes as a contextually personalized "buzz in your pocket".

"But what Foursquare needs to remember is that the Clippy prompts often got suggestions wrong, which was annoying and unwelcome. Foursquare will have to ensure its vision of push services is genuinely useful. It has the depth of customer data to do this, but another challenge for Foursquare is leveraging that data in a way that is respectful of user privacy. Any mistakes here will hit Foursquare hard."

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