Foursquare is partnering with several daily deal sites (though not Groupon yet), the Journal is reporting.
The partnership is straightforward enough: Foursquare will alert you to venues near you that have daily deals and you can buy that deal. Foursquare gets a cut.
Foursquare and Groupon have been working on a similar partnership for a while, and are still working on it, but it’s not clear that it really make sense. Sure, in the short term Foursquare gets revenue, but it doesn’t need it, having just raised $50 million.
The big problem is the fact that Groupon and the daily deals sites are increasingly competing head to head with Foursquare. They could be complementary: daily deals are supposed to make new customers walk in, and check-in apps are supposed to make existing customers more loyal. But that’s not how it’s working out.
Groupon’s mobile app, Groupon Now, which the company sees as its future, competes with check-in apps: why would you give someone a discount for checking in if you already gave them a discount to walk in? Groupon Now is everything Foursquare was supposed to be: something that tells you what to do in the city, gives you discounts to do so, and even has a game-like element with the “I’m hungry”/”I’m bored” dynamic. Groupon is even dipping its toes in the loyalty cards business.
Sure, this partnership will be beneficial in the short term — daily deals get more users, Foursquare gets revenue — but it’s uncertain how it will pan out in the longer term.