Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, June 21, 2011, 11:54 AM
Foursquare "Checks-In" 10M Members Los Angeles Times

Foursquare continues to scale its brand-friendly location-based social network. According to the LBS leader, it surpassed the 10 million-member mark this month. "One of the most amazing things about building Foursquare has been seeing a tool we designed for our friends turn into something now used by over 10,000,000 people," stated the New York start-up. "And as our community grows larger, we get to build things that start to fulfil our larger vision for the future."

The Los Angeles Times notes, however, "The maker of the ‘check-in' app wouldn't say just what those things were." When asked if he had any grand plans for Foursquare now that it's hit the 10 million mark, co-founder Dennis Crowley told TechCrunch: "Yes, keep making the product better.  We still got a long way to go  :)."

Since Foursquare's founding in March 2009, the company has recorded 4.7 million check-ins on Main Streets across the U.S.; 169 countries visited by U.S. users; 358 million check-ins outside the U.S.; sheck-ins at 225 weddings at city halls; and 1,602 birth announcements via hospital check-ins.

Meanwhile, Old Navy, Bank of America, 7-Eleven, Home Depot and Target are among the most popular businesses among active Foursquare users.

"Despite media buzz and investor excitement around services like foursquare, mobile check-in services remain a niche interest," writes FierceMobileContent.com, citing data issued last month by comScore. Only 16.7 million U.S. wireless subscribers checked in at local destinations via mobile device in March 2011 -- corresponding to 7.1% of the total nationwide mobile population, according to comScore.

That said, "Foursquare is working on becoming an actual business and, though it's still got some work to do, it's already gotten about 400,000 companies directly involved with managing their Foursquare profiles," Softpedia writes. "The real problem is converting all of these check-ins and all of the activity into money, something that many social and local Web start-ups are struggling to do."

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, June 21, 2011, 11:54 AM
  • Amid a proliferation of Web-connected recording devices and image-tagging tools, The New York Times considers the pros and cons of privacy's demise. "To some, [our current situation] could conjure up comparisons to the agents of repressive governments in the Middle East who monitor online protests and exact retribution offline.

    "But the positive effects can be numerous: criminality can be ferreted out, falsehoods can be disproved and individuals can become Internet icons." Like individuals, marketers have much to gain, and lose, from a privacy-free paradigm. "Publicity" -- something normally associated with celebrities -- "is no longer scarce," Dave Morgan, the chief executive of Simulmedia, wrote in an essay this month. "He posited that because the Internet 'can't be made to forget' images and moments from the past, notes NYT -- "The reality of an inescapable public world is an issue we are all going to hear a lot more about." Read the whole story...
  • Could Microsoft buy RIM? Well, "Research In Motion has lost so much value that an acquirer could pay a 50 percent premium and still buy the BlackBerry maker for a lower multiple than any company in the industry," Bloomberg reports. As a result, BMO Harris Private Banking thinks it's likely that Microsoft, or perhaps Dell, will make a go.

    The lucky buyer "would get a smartphone maker that is still dominant among corporate clients, offers greater security with its own e-mail servers and generates more free cash versus its market value than any of its rivals," Bloomberg notes. "Paying $40 a share still values RIM at a discount to comparable companies in the industry."

    Hard to believe, but RIM was once worth $83 billion before falling more than 80% from its record three years ago. Last week, RIM said quarterly sales may drop for the first time in nine years, while its stock closed on Monday at $25.89 a share -- or 4.7 times earnings next year. "That's less than any communications-equipment provider," reports Bloomberg, citing its own data. Read the whole story...
  • "Google may owe Oracle nearly as much money in damages as Oracle paid to buy all of Sun Microsystems," according to IGD News Service. According to a court filing from Google late last week, Oracle's damages expert, Boston University professor Iain Cockburn, has estimated that Google would owe Oracle between $1.4 billion and $6.1 billion if it is found to have infringed on Oracle's Java patents, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun last year for $7.4 billion.

    Yet, according to Google: "Oracle's 'methodology' for calculating damages is based on fundamental legal errors and improperly inflates their estimates." Oracle sued Google last August, claiming, as IDG notes, it is owed money for Google's use of Java in its Android operating system for smartphones and tablets. Google disputes the claim.

    Google doesn't charge for Android, but to figure out how much Oracle should be paid in damages, Cockburn "adds all of Google's revenue from advertising on all Android devices worldwide ... and then proposes awarding Oracle half of that amount," writes Scott Weingaertner, a lawyer representing Google, in a letter to the judge overseeing the case. Read the whole story...
  • Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and recommendation engine Hunch has a new project in the works, and, according to an SEC filing, she's in the process of raising $2 million to give it life. "Entrepreneurs gonna entrepreneur," Fake said on her blog this week.

    "I have a new start-up! We are building something consumer-facing, something social -- all the things I love best -- for optimal founder-market fit! It's crazy times in the Valley and while I prefer doing start-ups when the going's tough, money is scarce, and engineers are unemployed -- the best time to start a company is always two years ago, and the next best time is now. So now it is."

    According to Alls Things D, investors include True Ventures, Founder Collective (where Fake is an investor), SV Angel, Keith Rabois, James Joaquin and Shoshana Berger. "The company, which appears to be code-named 2bkco, also involves Marc Hedlund of Daylife and Wesabe as well as Eric Allen of Sauce Labs." According to the SEC filing, Fake had raised $1.54 million of a $2 million round as of June 15. Read the whole story...