The 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.
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.