Foursquare lands Starbucks as partner; geolocation meets lattes

Summary:Mobile geolocation startup Foursquare has landed Starbucks as a partner.

The next time you visit Starbucks, you might be awarded with a 'barista' badge.

Mobile geolocation startup Foursquare has landed Starbucks as a partner, according to a Bits report. If you're unfamiliar, the company offers an eponymous mobile that allows users to "check in" at locations and share that information with friends.

(Frequent visitors get crowned the "mayor" of a location. Certain actions wins a user "badges." See my previous coverage for more about the service.)

Initially designed as a game, the company has been making aggressive moves to monetize the service as a business-friendly enterprise, striking deals with brands such as Bravo, Zagat, Harvard University, the New York Times and Lucky magazine.

On Tuesday, Foursquare announced that it would introduce free tools made specifically for businesses, such as statistics dashboards that reflect customer behavior.

The Starbucks deal is mostly intended to allow the coffee company to get customer preference feedback and offer rewards to loyal customers.

Users can earn the barista badge after checking in to five separate stores. Starbucks is still figuring out how to reward people for frequent visits, according to the report.

Still curious about how this all works? Read this exhaustive introduction to geolocation apps by my CNET colleague Caroline McCarthy, who's reporting from the SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas alongside ZDNet Web Life blogger Andrew Mager.

Topics: Mobility


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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