Foursquare has announced its big, secret money-making plans: It will allow merchants to offer users coupons.
Foursquare’s move to revenues so early in its company history is actually a rather unorthodox play for a social media company.
favouring scaling, Twitter waited for years before giving monetization a go. Facebook started with ads very early in its history, but did not make them a priority until recently (some would say it still hasn’t).
Foursquare is different, it seems, because the type of sharing done on its service is relatively niche and smaller scale.
According to Foursquare.com, the app has a “community” of 20 million people – which probably means 20 million app downloads, which probably means far fewer active users.
Maybe Crowley – who admits in the WSJ that “people are still warming to the idea of location sharing” – has decided that Foursquare has about reached it ultimate scale, give or take 10 million active users or so.
If that’s the case, Crowley deserves credit for keeping his team small (just 100 people), bolting down the hatches, and going for profitability now.
Not every hot startup is going to be the next Google or Facebook.
A CEO who realises his company is not going to be, but can be something sustainable, valuable for shareholders, and useful for tens of millions of people deserves a lot of credit.
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