Foursquare is a social networking service which allows users to announce their current location to their friends and social networking accounts. The site gives points for "checking in" at different locations ("venues"), or adding new ones to the system. Members get badges on their profiles for completing various secret tasks, such as checking in at a certain number of different venues, and can be crowned "mayor" by checking in more regularly than anyone else. Businesses can offer specials to Foursquare users.
Although the service is designed for smart phones like those pictured, it can be used with only text messaging capability. The disadvantage of SMS is that the user must get the name of the venue exact in order to receive credit; texting "@ slash root" isn't enough for the service to recognize that the venue is Slash Root Grassroots Tech Cafe, for example.
Businesses can claim their Foursquare venue page and offer specials to all visitors or just the mayor. As part of a national campaign, Starbucks New Paltz is offering a discount on one of its new beverage varieties to its mayor. The site also has an API which allows businesses to develop custom applications which use the site's data feeds, and window clings for inviting users in.
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