Hopefully, you been paying attention to the ever growing trend of location based social media networks. There are many vying for our attention–albeit all again heavily weighted to the North American market. Gowalla (3 million), MyTown from Booyah (3 million and, as yet, only available on the iphone), Loopt (4 million) and, my personal favorite for now, Foursquare which seems to have taken a firmer root in Europe than the others.
According to Tech Crunch, Foursquare which has been trailing the others in the battle, will eclipse three million users this weekend. Using Mashable’s calculations, Foursquare is growing by more than 15,500 users per day (a little less than the 18,000 per day Foursquare CEO Crowley told the LA Times last week), or nearly half a million users per month.
Clearly, with Facebook Places now joining the fray, the category is “in heat.” [We are still waiting for it to roll out overseas]. The four initial pure players mentioned above are now all at the 3 to 4 million user level. How many players can the category accommodate? Which ones will dominate which markets? Much will depend on the financial pockets of the investors behind each and which can hit the necessary tipping points to crack markets wide open… Of course, there will be consolidation too, so one ploy might be for the weaker pure players to figure out how to attack offbeat markets which would make them a perfect acquisition target down the road.
As far as being a European-based “consumer” or a business is concerned, I would go with Foursquare (which is apparently going to come out with a new version soon) and/or Facebook Places when it comes. If you are a consumer, you will only have space for one. If you are a business, my recommendation would be to make sure that you are present in each one and let the market take over for the rest!
For sure, location-based social networking is a category that is going places.