Foursquare and Swarm: Breaking apart isn’t straightforward
Greater than a yr in the past, Foursquare determined to cut up its app in two. The primary app was now targeted on location discovery, whereas Swarm was created to deal with the social verify-in aspect of issues. The rationale? To streamline the 2 seemingly disparate features so that every function might flourish with out encumbering the opposite. That feels like a good suggestion in principle, however verify-ins and mayorships have been so integral to Foursquare’s id that eradicating them appeared like a nasty transfer. Just lately, Foursquare determined to re-combine international mayorships into Swarm resulting from consumer demand. However which may not be sufficient to win again its as soon as-loyal consumer base.
As somebody who was a fan of Foursquare (and even its predecessor, Dodgeball), I used to be open to the thought of the cut up. The previous app did really feel somewhat stale, and maybe a cut up was sufficient to get me to make use of it once more. Nevertheless, I am going to admit that I used to be dissatisfied that Foursquare had eliminated the idea of mayorships — the concept you possibly can be the “mayor” of a location for those who had the very best quantity of examine-ins at that place. As an alternative, Swarm restricted “mayorships” to only your social circle, which meant that a single location might have a number of “mayors.” It is a foolish little title to start with, however sharing that title with numerous different individuals? It loses its which means solely.
When requested why it did this, an organization spokesperson stated it was to make mayorships appear extra attainable, plus you have been competing towards individuals you knew as an alternative of strangers. Moreover, she stated that whereas badges and mayorships had been a good way to introduce individuals to Foursquare, the workforce needed individuals to make use of it “previous the onboarding level.” That is as a result of the app was actually all the time meant to be a discovery and suggestion software quite than simply for verify-ins or amassing badges.
As anticipated, eradicating mayorships wasn’t a extremely popular choice. So, Foursquare introduced the previous mayorship mechanic again. In a tweet from Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s CEO and co-founder, he stated, “You thought our previous Mayor recreation was extra enjoyable. We thought our previous Mayor recreation was extra enjoyable. So we fastened it.” It is a welcome change, however in loads of methods, it is too little, too late.
Swarm — You thought our previous Mayor recreation was extra enjoyable. We thought our previous Mayor recreation was extra enjoyable. So we fastened it pic.twitter.com/XEMkAWshuM
— Dennis Crowley (@dens) June 22, 2015
See, the one purpose I even used Foursquare was for the gaming facet of it. I appreciated checking in to places simply so I might get badges and to vie for that coveted mayorship spot. Location discovery was a superfluous function for me. I perceive that lots of people favored Foursquare as a result of it was extra personalised than Yelp, however for me, I do not all the time need to eat at eating places that my associates like and I do not all the time need to eat at acquainted locations. Within the months following the cut up, I discovered myself utilizing the Foursquare app much less and fewer. I nonetheless used Swarm sometimes to examine-in as a result of I like seeing a private historical past of the place I have been and I discover it enjoyable to see the place my pals have been as nicely. However even then, I discovered that I needed to remind myself to make use of it, as an alternative of it being second nature prefer it was.
It appears that evidently I am not alone. I caught up with the identical individuals I interviewed for final yr’s story about Foursquare and a few of them aren’t utilizing the brand new model as a lot, both. Carla Borsoi, vice chairman of selling at 6SensorLabs, says that she makes use of Foursquare solely not often now. As for Swarm, it is nonetheless one thing she makes use of for private historical past, however she discovered that a whole lot of her associates who used it aren’t round anymore. Borsoi is, nevertheless, wanting ahead to the return of mayorships to see if she might reclaim her SFO crown.
John [last name withheld], a software program engineer, has dropped the app virtually totally because the cut up. “Swarm is Foursquare’s Qwikster, however they lacked the sense to kill it once they had the prospect,” he stated. He used each apps for about six weeks earlier than deleting them after which downgraded to Foursquare model 6.four.2 of the iOS app. However even then, his verify-ins turned sparse. I requested if the return of mayorships would get him to return to the fold, and he stated no. “Reinstating performance the app had 5 years in the past may sluggish the speed that they are dropping customers, however it’s not going to spur an enormous surge in adoption. They’ve dropped under essential mass and I do not assume they will repair it.”
Foursquare will not share particular numbers with me, however a spokesperson did say that it has round fifty five million customers every month throughout the 2 apps, desktop and cellular, and that the corporate was “fairly happy with current progress throughout each apps, each in america and internationally.” Eddie Codel, a stay-video marketing consultant who’s additionally an enormous Foursquare consumer, stated that his utilization of the apps hasn’t modified. In truth, he says he makes use of Swarm’s Messages perform so much to satisfy pals for drinks or announce final-minute movie nights.
But, I can not assist however shake the sensation that Foursquare’s time has gone. Like Borsoi, most of my private community has moved on. The removing of the unique mayorship function strikes me as an particularly horrible concept, and I do not know if reintroducing it after individuals have left will probably be sufficient to salvage it. A minimum of not for me and, as a number of feedback in our final story on Foursquare present, lots of you could have given up on it as properly. If in case you have something to share about your use (or non-use) of Foursquare and Swarm, tell us within the feedback. Or, if in case you have a fair longer story to weave, you would join our Public Entry weblog to inform us your story in larger depth.