How Foursquare Obliterated Yelp in a single update
August 9. 2014 by Bojan
Just updated the Foursquare app. A month ago, they came up with the new app called Swarm, and they separated it from Foursquare. A lot of people complained, especially the old FourSquare majors and early adopters that lost their status.
However as the app scaled, Foursquare global Mayorships started becoming unattainable goal for late adopters, and kinda ruined “the game” for everybody else. Being a hardcore MMO gamer in the past, I can tell you this happens with nearly every game. It’s user inflation, that makes things less interesting for newcomers, and when that happens the company just needs to make a radical shift, to accommodate the newbies at the expense of minority of early adopters.
Same thing happened in World Of Warcraft, and will be the trend for the years to come, as this pattern of early adopter / late adopter curve seems to repeat itself over and over again. It happens with a lot of digital products as well, They are designed for early adopters, and than when the number of users increases, features get dumbed down, to appease the normal people, or less savy users.
Why Foursquare change brings a lot of value to the table
Well the UX of the new updated app is blowing the Yelp up to the smithereens. Because the app is delightful to use, and very clear what it wants from you.
First time you login into the app, Foursquare asks you about your tastes. While it might seem like a work up front, it was designed in a non-intrusive way. You make your picks, and you can move on. Than based on the preferences, Foursquare algorythm seems to be matching the keywords, with the reviews that accumulated on their system from before.
For example: I’ve typed in French Toast as one of my preferences, and it listed me places where people mentioned that they actually have a good French Toast, even though, you might not expect a French Toast in a place like that. Which gave me confidence that they are starting to leverage their data in a meaningful way. Unlike Yelp, which behaves in an old school way, won’t be able to give this type of recommendation, especially with that type of outdated app design (which I dread accessing).
If Yelp looses the mobile battle, which is critical in the location based world, they will become irrelevant in the years to come. We won’t check for review of places on the computer, instead we will have the data in a socially leveraged way on our mobile phones.
I am making a huge comeback to Foursquare for the juicy data and recommendation algorithm it provides. There is still slight dose of scalable gamification which is definitively playing into the favor of consumerism and spending more money, which will give them success for years to come. This app has potential to become addictive. It is also letting me distribute and receive the tips and information to and from my peers. My verdict: Pay attention to FourSquare if your business is local. This investment will pay off big dividends in years to come.