The excitement of Digg recently reinventing itself to resurrect social bookmarking as a viable news service dissipated as fast as it was introduced. Folks have found Twitter and Facebook more reliable resources for gathering and saving real-time news. What's currently on users' radar these days is earmarking places of interest and venues both online and in the real-world - and Foursquare 2.0 appears to be the first to capitalize on this paradigm shift.
Don't be surprised if within the next few weeks you start finding "Add to My Foursquare" buttons as prevalent throughout the Web as Digg was two years back. The new feature is an ingenious means for the location-based social network to move beyond it's "now" overplayed game-like check-in feature. Yes, it was a novelty when first introduced last year - but both merchants and users are now seeking a much more commercially viable functionality.
Simply put - vendors want traffic and consumers want deals! And with the announced arrival of version 2.0 of their service, Foursquare is stepping up their game to stay ahead of the pack and ward off formidable interlopers like Facebook Places.
HOW IT WORKS FOR MERCHANTS
Establishments can benefit from Foursquare's new "Add to My Foursquare" button. For instance a restaurant can add such a button to their Web site or a review as a quick and easy reminder for consumers.
According to Foursquare, there hasn't been a good way of remembering an interesting critique of an establishment when you are on the move. "Add to My Foursquare" buttons connects what you find on the Web with Foursquare's "To-Do" list. For a merchant to add such a button, all they have to do is find the Foursquare page that corresponds to their location and target the map displayed. When that location is tagged and clicked, the merchant will receive the code to embed into their Web site or review page.
See this example for MoMa in Manhattan.
Once in the Foursquare system, these establishments can then issue promos and discount coupon deals for all Foursquare users that have saved their reviews on their account. Then when that user is in close proximity to that vicinity, he or she will be alerted of the special offerings.
HOW IT WORKS FOR CONSUMERS
According to the updates outlined on Foursquare's blog, iPhone is the first hand-held device to add the new "Tips" and "To-Dos" features (Androids and Blackberries are coming soon). Consumers access these features when they want to "bookmark" restaurants, hotels, bars and other venues they would like to add to their library of places to experience at a later date. As soon as a user earmarks the establishment, they will see their friends' "tips" and recommendations regarding that location. There is even a "counter" that will indicate an establishment's popularity by how many people have tagged that site.
According to a ReadWriteWeb post, the rationale for using a Foursquare "ADD" button far outweighs using the 'old school' bookmarking services of Digg.
Needless to say, the instantaneous popularity of these new features overtaxed Foursquare's servers to the extent Foursquare noted in their blog that their storage capacity was "melting from all the excitement." However, they quickly remedied the situation and issued the following UPDATE.