Foursquare – A Location Based Services’ Flop Show In India

Foursquare, a location based social networking site created in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai has been a huge success in the US. So much that in September 2011, it registered its 1 Billionth check-in.

Foursquare makes check-in a fun game where users are rewarded with badges for accomplishing certain levels with their check-ins. Initially it helped Foursquare to gather attention and they later turned those rewards into actual discounts at certain outlets for earning mayorship with the help of business tie-ups. Well, that went well in the US. But in India? No body cares!

When Foursquare first debuted, Indians went crazy sharing where they were and what they were doing. But that excitement has subsided eventually. Now only hardcore Foursquare fanatics who organize 4sq day on April 16th use Foursquare in India.

Recently, I attended the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) conference here in Mumbai. The panel talked about how internet and mobile is changing the face of eCommerce is India. eCommerce is huge in India, currently. VC’s are throwing away money to any and I mean any kind of eCommerce portals.

However, all the digital know-hows didn’t even bother to check-in on Foursqaure on the first day of the conference, including yours truly. When pointed out by a fellow delegate, I checked-in from the FourSquare app from my Windows Phone smartphone. The interesting thing I noticed was only four people had checked-in for the conference. Strange isn’t it?

One of the reason I could think of for Foursquare not being huge in India is that currently the market is concentrated on eCommerce and nobody (local businesses,¬†entrepreneurs, etc) cares about location based service because it not really making any money. Really! BusinessInsider reported that even Facebook investors say that Foursquare doesn’t have a ton of revenue yet. ¬†And then Facebook is again huge in India. People prefer to use Facebook’s check-in feature instead of using a stand-alone service, going from my newsfeed. Another reason for users not to use Foursquare is users in India are not entitled to the cool things it brings (read: benefits from Mayorship) and nor does it bring the scalability of Facebook. Besides that, Smartphones is not yet popular in India. As of today, still majority of Indian phone users still use a feature phone and GPS service is still not available in most feature phones.

Do you use Foursquare regularly?

Published by

Apurva Chaudhary

Apurva is a tech enthusiast, works at ClassMatrix , cycles on her Firefox Cyclone, and runs a newsletter at Techknots . Follow her on Twitter

  • Temari

    You are right in this. Even I use facebook checkin instead of four square. There is no need for downlaod another app for this purpose.

  • True. I myself use FB check-in sometimes. FS is just increasing the spam on twitter.

  • bluecrabs

    its funny,
    I always used foursquare whenI was in the states,
    but never in India.

    I guess you are right regarding the lack of benefits for mayorship etc… plus in cities, life is quite hectic and fast…

    So only Facebook for now :-)

  • Explored MojoStreet? A 4sq clone; offers discounts at partner outlets.