Saturday, May 1, 2010

How does the mayor position work in FourSquare, revisited

I just checked my Google Analytics for this here Empoprise-BI business blog for 2010, and found that the most popular post during that period, with 8.52% of all pageviews, is a post that I wrote on January 2 with the title "How does the mayor position work in FourSquare?"

The popularity of this post demonstrates my superior writing skills, of course...not. It's merely the fact that I happened upon a trend. OK, the title was pretty good also. Oddly enough (or perhaps not oddly), the Facebook echo of the post is more highly ranked in Google than the original Blogger post.

As it turns out, this is a good time to revisit the topic of mayorships in Foursquare. But first, a recap of what I already wrote. Here is an excerpt:

[A] single visit is not enough to make you the mayor of a new location, For new locations, generally you need to visit the place on two different days before you can become the mayor of the location.

And if you stop visiting there, and someone else visits, then it's quite possible that you can lose your mayorship to someone else. That's exactly what happened to me at the Starbucks at Valencia & Imperial in Brea, California. I used to be the mayor there, but as I write this the current mayor is Lauren D.

Now FourSquare's hope is that the game impulse will kick in, and that I'll say to myself, "Hey, I can't let Lauren remain the mayor of that Starbucks! So I'm just going to make a point of visiting that Starbucks in Brea a few times so that I can win the mayorship back!"

Now this benefits FourSquare, and benefits the business as well.

I wrote this back in January, back when I probably had a dozen mayorships or so. Foursquare hadn't really taken off in the Inland Empire yet, but I figured that it would at some point, and that I'd lose some of these mayorships, only retaining a few.

But recently, the unthinkable happened.

I lost the mayorship of the Starbucks at 6th and Mountain. (At present, my mayorships have dwindled down to three.)

However, this is partially my fault. I'd often stop at that Starbucks on my morning commute, but this year I often use a different route for my morning commute, which means that I don't go by that Starbucks as frequently as I once did. This gave Larry H the opening that he needed to claim the mayorship from me.

And, to the delight of Foursquare and Starbucks, the competitive edge kicked in, and I figured I'd get that mayorship back. As it turns out, I had the option to take my old commuting route for a few days, so I began visiting that Starbucks on my way to work, beginning on April 27:

i want mayorship back. @foursquare sees $ @stevenhodson shakes head :) (@ Starbucks Coffee)

(The Hodson comment was prompted by his March 22 post "Say, do they have a badge for 'Duh I am such a sucker'?" I previously commented on Hodson's post in my April 21 post.)

Returning to the mayorship contest at Starbucks, I checked in again on April 28, after a failed attempt to visit My Delight Cupcakery (no, I still haven't made it there during their business hours):

so i`m getting iced tea instead (@ Starbucks Coffee)

Two visits didn't do it - I still hadn't won the mayorship back. By April 29, I realized that this would be harder than I thought:

i feel like harold stassen, repeatedly running for mayor (@ Starbucks Coffee)

(Here's a biography of Harold Stassen, if you've never heard of him. The biography contains the wonderful line "Other Minnesota politicians: Hubert H. Humphrey, Jesse Ventura and Walter Mondale." When will they add Al Franken? Whoops, it looks like I really want to keep that "I Can't Keep on Topic" badge I mentioned earlier.)

At this point, I figured it was time for some research. And when I researched Larry H and his mayorships, I discovered this one:

pennysaver sales office (work)
1520 north mountain avenue
ontario, california 91762

Right way, this told me two things.

First, and most importantly, it told me that Larry H worked in the same shopping center where the Starbucks is located, which means that it is quite possible that Larry stops there every day, before or after selling advertisements for the very popular PennySaver.

The other thing that it told me was that Larry is pretty savvy at Foursquare; my guess is that he added this location himself. This means that he knows his way around Foursquare and definitely has an interest in the service.

By April 30, I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably wasn't getting this mayorship back.

one last? opportunity to win this (@ Starbucks Coffee)

So I congratulate Larry H on his hard work; he's earned this mayorship. In fact, he's been really busy in that Starbucks area; not only is he the mayor of the Starbucks and of Pennysaver, but he is also the mayor of Chopsticks House. (Ignore the map, which as of May 1 is VERY inaccurate.) So for Larry, I'd like to propose the Shopping Center Badge, for checking into three different locations within 500 feet of each other.

Or maybe I should make it four locations instead of three. At this rate, Larry will beat me to My Delight Cupcakery.
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