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Where's The Location-Based Love?

In the emerging world of location-based social networking, Foursquare has been getting a disproportionate share of the attention from media, analysts, and VCs. Yet, that could all change now that rival Gowalla has won the award for best new site in the Mobile category at South by Southwest.

"Gowalla beat out top rival Foursquare in the category, even as the supposed SXSW location smackdown between the two services heated up," writes Wired.com's Underwire blog.

"While over a dozen services have launched new products or features around location, two still seem to stand above all others in terms of use here: Foursquare and Gowalla," according to TechCrunch. "Foursquare and Gowalla are basically in a statistical dead heat."

There's clearly a great deal at stake for the aspiring platforms. Vadim Lavrusik, a social media consultant currently working for The New York Times, tells Statesman.com that investor interest in location-based services is driven by the potential for huge ad revenue. "It's not the annoying or intrusive type of advertising people are used to on the Web," he says. "It's actually something helpful."

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Perhaps for that reason, Gowalla investor Chris Sacca took time out of his busy schedule this weekend to email the Business Insider to say that Foursquare has a spam problem on Twitter, and its system lacks any "true accountability."

The remarks followed a post on Business Insider, which notes that the people it follows on Twitter were producing tons of Foursquare links from the South By Southwest conference, while Gowalla was M.I.A. on Twitter.

According to TechCrunch, Business Insider drew a false conclusion because it was looking at a feature that scans Twitter for links being shared by influencers, and noticed that many more were sharing Foursquare links. "Of course, the main problem with this information is that it uses a small sample set of data."

Read the whole story at Wired et al. »

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