Gowalla announced last week that they integrated FourSquare and Facebook Places’ APIs into their iPhone app, making it easy for users to check into FourSquare, Gowalla, Facebook, and even Twitter all at once.
Take a Good Look in the Mirror, FourSquare
Mashable claimed that the “ball is now in FourSquare’s court”, as FourSquare could simply ban Gowalla from accessing their API. However, I believe that this is a bad idea. In order to use Gowalla’s new integration, users will still have to sign up for a FourSquare account if they want to post on FourSquare. Instead of focusing on how they can prevent this integration, FourSquare should instead take a long, hard, look on why they didn’t do it first. Maybe they thought Gowalla wasn’t even in their realm of competition. Maybe they believed that their over 4 million users would never go over to Gowalla.
Accepting Faults Can Lead to Moments of Genius
However, Gowalla recognized the gap between user numbers and instead of dwelling on it, they figured out how to take their top competition and make it part of their own application. Pretty genuis, if you ask me.
Gowalla recognized that users like simplicity. If we could have a machine that did our laundry and cooked dinner at the same time, wouldn’t we want it? A robot that masters all housework is simply more valuable than a robot that only vacuums the carpet or cleans the shower. Gowalla analyzed location-based applications and wanted to be their one-stop shop.
What Happens Next?
Today, Gowalla also announced that their new advertising strategy, the “Stamp Calendar”, is going to go live soon. Debuting in major cities like Austin (location of Gowalla’s headquarters) and San Francisco, Gowalla is selling daily slots to advertisers so their ads will be shown on Gowalla exclusively for one day. ClickZ says “The company debuted a “Stamp Calendar” for New York, San Francisco, and Austin, TX. Each city’s calendar offers one marketing slot per day that starts at $5 for the first day and increases $5 in cost each day thereafter. The program will launch on Jan. 1 and is expected to roll out nationwide during the course of 2011.” While FourSquare currently teams up with businesses to over check-in deals, Gowalla may be again ahead of their time with this type of one-a-day advertising, which has been really popular on sites like I Wear Your Shirt.
Only time can tell what happens between FourSquare and Gowalla. Maybe the ‘feud’ is all in our heads– for all we know Dennis Crowley and Josh Williams are BFFs. FourSquare hasn’t shut down their API access, and I can only hope it’s because they are thinking, “Damn, that was a good idea. Why didn’t we thinking of that?”
Awesome article! I have played around with Gowalla 3 and I have to say it has some cool features..especially the integration piece. That being said .. I think the future for these companies lies in a merger so they can take on facebook (The enemy of my enemy is my friend).