Experts? Hardly.

You may be following the saga of Foursquare as it tries to find a business model that works.

Foursquare Logo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bloom of collecting badges has clearly worn off and almost every app has some sort of check-in feature to let your friends know where you are. Now Foursquare seems to be moving in a direction that will let them compete with Yelp (which has a good business model) and are splitting off the check-in part of the service into another app (Swarm).
Maybe you got the same email I did the other day which talked about their new feature called “Expertise”:

In the new Foursquare, we want to reward people who share their expertise, helping other people to great experiences. When you leave great tips, you make progress. And, the more people like or save them, the faster you’ll earn expertise.

It goes on to say that all of the tips you post thereafter will show they were posted by an expert.  On behalf of people who actually DO have some expertise on a few things, may I call BS?  I’ll even go further: I’m offended.

I’m offended because any moron with the price of dinner and a mobile device can write a review which may be complete blather and very inaccurate. I have no problem there.  But if they do so 10 or more times, does that really make them an expert or just a blithering idiot?  How is anyone to recognize the real experts?

I’m offended  because Foursquare is doing something that I find offensive among a number of content companies.  They are using the very same audience they sell to marketers to make their product.  The reward to the consumer for doing so?  An ego trip:

Once you’ve earned an expertise, we both mark your tips as coming from an expert (so the world knows), and make sure more people see them because they’re high quality. And, when you’re looking for great things to do when you’re at a place, you can see which ones come from experts.

How about something more tangible – a gift card, a weekly sweepstakes, anything that reflects the value of the contribution?  Foursquare seems to believe the famous Woody Allen quote that showing up is 80% of success.  If you show up at a place and write about it, you’re a success – an EXPERT!  My take?  Hardly.  Yours?

1 Comment

Filed under Consulting, digital media, Huh?, Thinking Aloud

One response to “Experts? Hardly.

  1. Good post Keith. Agree 100%…to add, online user opinions (Movies, Restaurants, Golf Courses, even Yelp, etc..) have become more and more homogenized and less relevant to all of our individual tastes unless one knows the user personally.

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