Today Read Write Web trumpeted the launch of “Location Layers” on foursquare. Their post was spurred by the official launches of IFC’s Always On, Slightly Off Guide to America and the Huffington Post’s branded tips. Usually-well-informed Marshall Kirkpatrick said:
Now the next logical step is to enable users to opt-in to having a publisher’s content pushed to them. That’s what IFC and on a smaller scale, the Huffington Post, have done today. Click to follow these publishers, check in near one of the locations they have annotated and your phone will get special tips pushed to it just like you get when near a place where one of your individual friends has left a tip.
What Kirkpatrick failed to notice was that pushing tips is nothing new to foursquare brands. In fact, they’ve been in use by more than 60 brands since launching in February.
In April, foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley posted a screenshot (at right) of branded tip popups from the History Channel. The tips pop up whenever a user following a brand profile checks in at or near a venue where the brand has left tips. Brands have used these tips for all sorts of things from trivia and restaurant reviews to breaking news and links to relevant content.
Foursquare’s VP of Business Development, Tristan Walker, even tweeted that there was nothing particularly new about the IFC or Huffington Post profiles:
its no diff from what we’re doing with other brands…
no such new feature launch. We’ve had that for all brands since feb. From bravo to zagat to history channel
We share Kirkpatrick’s excitement for the future of location based tips, but â€” at the risk of being labeled a “wet blanket” â€” this “launch” was nothing more than business as usual at foursquare.