Today we had an active discussion on Twitter (for the 10,000th time) regarding the whole Geo-Social showdown between Gowalla and Foursquare. I have summarized some of my thoughts that I took from this conversation below as well as some insight provided by people in my network. I have also posed some questions below that I would love to have your feedback on so please feel free to comment your thoughts…
Being a die-hard Gowalla fan as well as a loyal user I have a hard time buying into the statement that Foursquare is the best geo-social application to get behind. A common response that I get back from my network of followers is that Foursquare is better for businesses.
Every time I hear this I keep thinking that maybe I am missing something with Foursquare that I should learn more about but the best that I can come up with is the fact that Foursquare has these listed features for businesses that more or less allow business owners to post messages to users who are in the area to entice them to visit an establishment. Foursquare also allows owners the opportunity to offer specials to Mayors and those who have loyalty points (# of check-ins). I guess I can sort of see where everyone is coming from on their position that Foursquare might be better than Gowalla in this one aspect, but overall Gowalla has a much better product and user experience. As a developer and a business owner, I can attest to the fact that user experience and application quality go a long way!!!
I posed the question today on Twitter: What makes Foursquare better for businesses than Gowalla? and I didn’t get any really concrete or specific answers back from very many people. Keith Crawford brought up the fact that Gowalla really needed to address business users, and I agree w/ that point. Natalie Ghidotti mentioned that Foursquare did a better job connecting users to businesses w/ mayorships, etc. and I can sort of see that point of view as well, but doesn’t the idea of picking up items on Gowalla that can be exchanged for tangible items such as appetizers, t-shirts, phone cases, etc., sort of counteract that? Not to mention making it more fun when you win these items? Furthermore, to counteract the loyalty aspect of Foursquare (ie. mayorships, # of checkins, etc.) couldn’t Gowalla’s leaderboard also answer that one?
Not too far into this debate, I posted links to the online location profile for Pleth, LLC in Conway from both locations (Gowalla: Pleth, LLC and Foursquare: Pleth, LLC) to demonstrate that from a desktop browser perspective there really wasn’t much difference between the two. It wasn’t long after this that a representative from Gowalla, @SanLei came into the conversation and had me refresh my browser to see my Pleth location page again. She had added my company information, twitter handle, and stream into my profile page. All day long during this conversation we never heard a word from Foursquare.
Bryan Jones also weighed in saying that he also leans toward Gowalla over Foursquare for similar reasons that I do, Quality over Quantity. Mark Ferguson also weighed in saying that he preferred getting items for prizes than becoming a mayor of a particular establishment, and I think I am inclined to agree w/ his position as well.
- Here’s my thing, isn’t the user experience going to win out every time?
- Does anyone disagree w/ my position that Gowalla has a much better user experience?
- What does Gowalla need to do to address / encourage Business Use?