The problem is the trend hasn’t caught on with the vast majority of American internet users. A recent Pew Research Center report indicated that only 4% of the demographic bother with sites like Foursquare and its competitors. While the numbers are indeed unflattering, those dedicated to the cause of location based networking may deem this as a go-ahead for further expansion. It’s virgin territory, a new frontier, and only entrepreneurs with enough grit in them can really carve a profitable niche.
What’s encouraging about location based networking sites is the infrastructure and advertising money is in place. Even juicier is the potential to link customers to commercial establishments, which is considered the missing factor in a profitable equation. For example, you may check in at your favorite pizza place for lunch via Foursquare, but does the guy who owns the pizza place know you’re there? See, this is the hidden key to make location based services too juicy to resist. There must be a connection in place between the locations themselves and the Foursquares/Facebook Places/Gowallas of the tech landscape.
When this happens, expect another dimension to open between retail and the customer. If you find it hard to imagine, think of the place you go to buy video games. Whenever you drop by and check in you’re automatically offered discounts and promos. See the simple logic of it? Genius, right?
Alas, it is yet to happen. But hopefully soon.