Sunday, January 29, 2012

Did I sucker myself back into Foursquare?

In case you don't know the story, let me recap.

I had been active in Foursquare for some time. At the time I didn't have a fancy-dancy smartphone, but I used my regular old phone to check into places on Foursquare, earn mayorships, and dominate the universe as we know it. (Sorta.)

That continued until my January 15, 2011 check-in at the 99 Cents Only Store on Mountain Avenue in Ontario, California. That's about the time that I discovered that since I was not using a smartphone, I was no longer eligible to earn mayorships.

So, later that same day, while at a Rubios in Upland, I made the comment

this may be my last foursquare check-in

And I vented. Oh, I vented.

But at least Gowalla has been consistent; Foursquare literally changed the rules of the game in the middle of the game....

The mobile web was a workaround for those who wanted to cheat, but that workaround has now apparently been closed.

As has the ability for mobile web users to legitimately earn mayorships.

Of course, I could still earn Foursquare mayorships if I wanted to. All that I have to do is buy a high end smartphone with GPS enabled, and also buy the high-end service plan that service providers force smartphone users to buy. Lay out $2000 or more, and I can continue to earn mayorships.

It's not worth it....

So, does anyone want to suggest a location-based service that actually LIKES non-smartphone users?

And I quit using Foursquare, and quit accepting friend requests, and pretty much was not all that keen on Foursquare. (Hell hath no fury like a scorned social locationist.)

And what did Foursquare do? Nothing. Not that I necessarily expect Foursquare to personally contact every single user, but while I'm bombarded with messages from other services ("Hey, we haven't seen you at SuperSocialHangout lately! Where have you been? We miss you!"), I received nary a peep from Foursquare regarding my sudden lack of activity.

So why did I check into an Ontario Starbucks just a few minutes ago?

Easy. Foursquare recognized one of my devices as legitimate - specifically, my netbook.

You see, when I arrived at Starbucks this morning (due to a loyalty program, FYI) and fired up my netbook, I was directed to the Starbucks/Yahoo! partner screen, which had all sorts of added content. Obviously I could check my Starbucks Rewards information, but I noticed that I could also check into Foursquare.

What the hey, I thought.

Then I noticed that Foursquare offered me the option of identifying my location.

Now my netbook doesn't have GPS enabled, but since I'm using the local Starbucks wi-fi, Starbucks - and therefore Foursquare - has a pretty good idea of where I am.

So I checked in for the first time in over a year - and the rewards started flying.

Points for this check-in: 10
This is your first check-in since January '11 +6
Back at Starbucks (12 months) +2
First Coffee Shop in 12 months! +2

So perhaps I don't have to pay thousands of dollars to participate in Foursquare. After all, the netbooks are cheap, the wi-fi is now free, and this may be a win-win for everyone.

We'll see how this progresses.

P.S. Speaking of locations, you'll note that this post doesn't have a location tag on it, despite the fact that Blogger offers such a service. You see, I've had to switch back to the old Blogger interface because my old netbook doesn't have enough memory to run the new Blogger interface. So my non-trendiness continues.
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