Creating a brand page on foursquare has up to now been an entirely manual process that involves downloading an Excel file, filling it out and sending it to foursquare, whose staff then added them by hand. Needless to say, it was a resource-intensive process.
That will change this week when foursquare rolls out their automated tool that allows users to convert any foursquare account to a page, according to a report in AdAge.
Pages offer a way for brands to leave tips that users will be able to see when they check in. You can follow the History Channel, for instance, to get tips that reveal historical tidbits about a location or Parents Magazine for hints for parents. Branded tips
More than 2,500 brands have already signed up using the manual process, so it stands to reason that the number of pages will expand significantly once foursquare makes creating them an automated process. The number of businesses claimed on foursquare jumped exponentially (now more than 500,000) after foursquare launched an automated tool for that last year.
The AdAge report implies that this tool will also be directed at regular users, as well. It could create a more Twitter-like “following” model for tips instead of the current friending model.Â (See update below) We’re awaiting more information from foursquare to see how that would work. As they currently stand, pages have a huge drawback for regular users: you can no longer have “friends” (everyone becomes a “follower”) at which point all your checkins essentially become public and you lose the ability to see where your friends are, among other things. It’s unclear how the new page platform will affect these limitations.
UDPATE (8:49 pm): Foursquare spokesperson Erin Gleason has confirmed that “this tool is really aimed at brands, not individual users.” That said, there’s nothing stopping you from a new account and turning it into a brand page for your food blog, for instance, and leaving tips that your blog’s fans can follow and discover at the places you recommend.
The new tool allows brands to sign up using their Twitter accounts (thus eliminating any land-grab situations), upload their own banner images and text and start adding tips to venues immediately.