With the farewell to check-in and the birth of Swarm, the app risks losing most of its users
Once upon a time there was an app that had two souls. Two souls who lived together peacefully, until one day someone decided to separate them to earn more from each of them. With the result of distorting the original idea of ??the app and losing the trust of the fans.
This, in broad terms, is the story of Foursquare, the geolocation app founded in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. The two souls are the possibility to check-in in the various places (and the relative gamification with lots of points, badges, rankings among friends) and information (with Tripadvisor style tips) on the aforementioned places. Between ups and downs, Foursquare built itself a hard core of 45 million users, but, in recent months, executives have thought about overcoming the recent stalemate by dividing the app in two. born so Swarm, dedicated only to the check-in part, while Foursquare, which will soon change its look and logo, will take care of the reviews part.
Crowley explained the move by saying that almost everyone used Foursquare just to check in or just for reviews, and then it was necessary to separate the targets in order to increase revenues. "In this way, in 2014 we will double revenues compared to 2013, he added.
Apart from the fact that Crowley's and associates' analysis appears rushed (the writer, for example, used advice and information on restaurants, bars and public places, while having fun with check-ins and gamification), the choice turned out to be soon a boomerang. Swarm, in fact, launched a few months ago and "mandatory" for about a week, suffered immediately from a series of serious birth defects. Very frequent bugs and crashes have undermined its use in the first weeks of life. Even once solved, the app showed itself to be slow, unintuitive, difficult to use, random. the possibility of becoming "mayor" has disappeared of a location and the competition with friends is reduced to the check-in count (which is difficult to find). According to experts, the app also consumes much more data traffic than the "old" Foursquare. Wesley Verhoeve from Gntlmn.com showed in a tweet that the rating in the Foursquare App Store now has 1.5 stars (out of 5), while all pre-Swarm versions had an average of 4 stars.
Foursquare App Store Reviews Pre-Swarm (4 *) Vs. Post-Swarm (1.5 *). Overwhelming requests to revert in the comments. pic.twitter.com/d2M0saRkQO
Wesley Verhoeve (@wesleyverhoeve) 29 July 2014
From the company they let know that 3/4 of Foursquare users also downloaded Swarm (so about 12 million people were lost in the street), even though, after having debuted in the top 100 of the most downloaded apps, Swarm dropped to 367th position. But the problem seems to be the sub-zero rating. On social networks and on the Internet, users show their dissent, journalists criticize and famous users leave the ship, such as David Weekly, Facebook product manager (who worked on another famous "split", that of Messenger), which he wrote a poignant farewell letter that had much resonance.
The market analysts who say? Brian Blau, Gartner's technology expert, said that distancing himself from the world of check-in could have been the right move for Foursquare, but in this way the company went on hunting in an already saturated market: ?I think which for them will be difficult times. There are a lot of apps that are being thrown on local business". The competition from Facebook, Google, strong Yelp.
In short, being divided into two apps (which, however, need each other to work) may have been a sensational own goal for Foursquare.