Foursquare, Meet Groupon Now

Groupon's Andrew Mason and Foursquare's Dennis Crowley at the Digital Life Design Conference. (

A day after local mini-start-up launched to alert users to flash discounts when they check in to a venue via SMS, it turns out Foursquare is rolling out its own instant deals with Groupon, starting in Chicago.

Foursquare announced it would be syndicating deals from Living Social, Gilt City, AT&T Interactive, BuyWithMe and Zozi, surfacing them to users in the “explore” tab alongside merchant offers about two months ago–a hot source of revenue for the location-based start-up, which is still giving venue owners free advertising by letting them offer deals at no fee. It’s a great deal for Foursquare, which gets a piece of the daily deal pie, and a good deal for advertisers, who are essentially paying for search ads as consumers using the “explore” feature are looking to make a decision about where to go. But Groupon was noticeably missing from the line-up.

Sounds like that was because Groupon’s deals, which include real-time discounts as well as discounts redeemable in the future, were a bit more complicated to integrate.

So what does this mean for Dealburner? Founder Jason Fertel never got his meeting with Foursquare yesterday, although he and WeWork Labs co-founder Matt Shampine had an informal dialogue about technical questions. He says this feature from Foursquare is not a threat because Dealburner is aggregating from all deal providers, including the daily deal second market where users resell unused vouchers, and works with Foursquare as well as Facebook Places. And Foursquare is still yet to offer alerts to users when they check in somewhere that has a flash deal on–its partners are more worried about getting people into a venue than sucking up to the customers who are already there. Plus, Dealburner got mega-sign-ups yesterday, he said, and a pick-up from Chris Thompson at aboutFoursquare. Foursquare, Meet Groupon Now