Why Gowalla should merge with Foursquare

Man… I was percolating a blog post that predicted Gowalla would merge with Foursquare, when Ben Parr chimes in with this:

Gowalla Turns the Tables, Integrates With Foursquare

It’s the quick and the dead on the interwebs!

Why would I suggest Gowalla merge with Foursquare?

Facebook Places.

I don’t have an MBA, nor do I pretend to have expertise or inside knowledge on geolocation business models, but consider it on a mathematical level:

As of 7 July 10, Foursquare has just over 1.9 Million users, while Gowalla has around 340,000.

Compare that to Facebook which has over 500 million users.

Gowalla, Foursquare and Facebook icons

The minnows have to do something drastic to survive.

Why bother trying?

Well, 2 million users is a lot of customers in anyone’s language. And it’s growing by the tens of thousands daily.

A part of me also respects brands that are clever or brave enough to be first to market, not to mention my disdain for those who profit by ripping off other people’s ideas. I’m sure I’m not alone on this.

But more importantly, I think Gowalla and Foursquare trump Facebook in one key area: they are specialist geolocation platforms.

Yes, millions of Facebook users will happily use Facebook Places while they list their favourite movies and play Farmville. However, some people aren’t on Facebook and don’t care for its broader social networking offering. Then there are others, like me, who remain on Facebook under sufferance and much rather use Foursquare for checking in to places and keeping track of my mates.

Opportunity knocks

Gowalla and Foursquare’s competitive edge could have a bearing on
e-learning, particularly in the workplace.

I can’t see employers forcing their people to create Facebook accounts, even if it is for lofty learning and development purposes. If anything, the opposite is true.

Rightly or wrongly, something philosophically simpler like Foursquare might be an easier sell.

My point is: corporate geolocation training games ain’t gonna be played on Facebook Places. Gowalla and Foursquare have an opportunity to fill the void.

Corporate accounts, anyone?


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