So it’s been nearly 10 days since Foursquare launched its social mobile game ‘ground assault’ into 50 more cities, including a bunch of European ones. But what I’d like to know is who’s actually using it here in Europe?
Because, you see, Europeans are already quite well served by location based mobile applications like Qype, the various localised versions of Yelp, and other startups like Rummble. And there are increasingly new kids on the block like Flook.
What is clear however, is that only Foursquare and Gowalla (at least to my knowledge) have come up with this gaming approach to ‘checking in’ which has attracted so much interest from high profile blogs like TechCrunch and bloggers like Robert Scoble.
The question is, which will scale and ultimately prove the winner? Because – at least in this instance – we have two distinct approaches to the issue of social, mobile and location.
One the one hand the more ‘utilitarian’ approach of European startups has generally concentrated on providing Yelp-like ratings mechanisms for venues and places. Increasingly they have placed money-off voucher-codes front and centre in their business model (and there are plenty of iPhone apps for just vouchers based on your location, like Bview, Rippll, Vouchacha and Vooch).
On the other hand in the U.S., the new wave of social mobile startups has produced sites like Brightkite, but more latterly two main players in the from of Foursquare and Gowalla. Their approach has been to lure users into a points-based checking in game which will presumably create a voucher-based business model via the back door – eventually.
Incredibly this is playing out like so many other US versus European startup battles that have happened before: the US player goes after scale and traction, the European players go after monetisation first.
It’s going to be extremely interesting to see this battle play out. So to get a sense of who is using what and where, I’m going to pitch Foursquare and Gowalla against eachother for starters. After that I’ll be delving deeper into this battleground and the players, from a European perspective.
I’d like you to vote on the two polls below and we’ll then go from there. I’ll close the polls on Monday, so get voting. And please, be honest about where you are.