Foursquare Earns Nothing From the 500 K. Merchants Using the Service

4sq merchant specials Foursquare Earns Nothing From the 500 K. Merchants Using the ServiceA bit of a glass half full, glass half empty data point appeared on foursquare’s blog this week. Businesses who sign up with Foursquare can offer deals to users who check in, see what times of day are most popular for their business and who their best customers are. The company, which has passed 10 million user and recently raised $50 million Series C, has also got more than half a million merchants using the location based social network.

So while it’s not shocking that Foursquare has yet to earn a dime off of the services it provides merchants, looking ahead the company is going to have to experiment with premium offerings or packaged data that can be sold to small and medium business owners. Start-ups like Local Response are already doing this for check ins, but on the aggregate level of Foursquare, Twitter, etc.

American Express, which amped up its partnership with Foursquare last month, said the rewards program launched at SXSW was one of it best performing promotions, with users spending 20 percent more than folks who didn’t check in. Hopefully that means Foursquare’s biz dev team has some ammo they can use in their next pitch meeting. At a nearly $600 million valuation, the company would need to seriously ramp up its revenue efforts and head for an IPO or be acquired by a tech giant for investors to see a return.