I find FourSquare simultaneously frustrating and potentially excellent.
FourSquare is a website/application which allows (requires) users to say (check-in) where they are. The more regularly a user checks in to a location, they are rewarded with ‘badges’ and status changes. A user can then become a ‘mayor’ of a location if they are the most frequent user in that location. It’s clever through it’s addictiveness.
The commercial model is that locations can then reward it’s mayors with free prizes, such as a coffee in a cafe, or a discount. FourSquare’s model is that it’s users are the ones who map the World rather than rely on Google or anyone else to do so.
The frustration stems from the iPhone app crashing when I try loading it without a wireless connection. For an application which relies on being out and about for its use… a very limiting factor. Apparently it only happens to some people, such as myself.
The potentially excellent view is that I can easily see Google or Microsoft buying them soon. Imagine Google knowing where it’s users are and integrating it into Buzz, GMail and Google Latitude (another excellent location utility commonly misunderstood). Or Microsoft integrating Messenger, Bing, Hotmail and FourSquare together as a single offering.