What Foursquare’s New Privacy Policy Means for Small Businesses

How small business can benefit from Foursquare's new privacy policy

foursquare check in signThe very popular Foursquare social media platform allows people to “check-in” at venues and establishments using their iPhone, Android or Blackberry. While users compete against their friends in a race to see who collects the most check-ins, they’re providing business owner’s important data. Stores, restaurants and other merchants that use Foursquare can see peak traffic times, new vs. returning customers and other usage patterns. With about 25 million users and 1 million businesses using the social media platform, the ability to quantify this data is important.

Foursquare’s new privacy policy which takes effect on Jan. 28, 2013 makes some important changes to how data will be gathered. Merchants will now be able to see the full names of people when they check-in, by default. Owners of establishments can now collect more complete information from users if the user decides to share it.

Another major revision to the policy is a change to the log of check-ins. Previously, merchants could only access information about customer check-ins within a three-hour window. While this seems like more than enough time to review, often a busy staff or venue would not have time to collect the data before it expired. Now venue owners can check after closing time or even the next morning, whenever it’s convenient to do so.

Foursquare informed users about its expanded sharing of personal information over the holiday season. CEO Dennis Crowley has previously said Foursquare is trying to find new ways to leverage its huge trove of user data, a key asset as the company, backed by more than $70 million in venture capital, tries to turn a profit.

Source: Foursquare

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