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20/12/2012 by

Facebook Launches ‘Nearby’

Facebook is challenging Foursquare and Yelp with its renewed mobile service called Nearby.

Facebook users can use Nearby to locate stores and restaurants nearby which have been recommended by your friends. So if you want to score online with your business locally, it’s important that you have activated you Facebook Business page, because if you don’t, your company will not be visible in Facebook Nearby.

Facebook Nearby, a menu tab within Facebook’s mobile apps and websites, offers a tool for finding places, both nearby and across a larger area. It loads up recommendations first with venues that friends have visited, recommended or liked. With Facebook’s much bigger user base, that should provide a lot of signals over Foursquare, which has just 25 million registered users.

But it’s not that big of an edge in most cases because a lot of people haven’t tagged their updates with locations or interacted with businesses on Facebook. You can browse for nearby stuff or look across different categories like restaurants, coffee, nightlife, shopping, outdoors.

With Facebook massive reach, Nearby could become a serious competitor for other location based services such as Foursquare and Yelp. Foursquare has been using its more than 3 billion check-ins and other interactions to tune its Explore recommendation engine. That input helps Foursquare come up with more unique and personal suggestions.

While Facebook recommends local businesses based on friends who have liked a business, checked in, rated a restaurant or left a recommendation, Foursquare looks at tips, likes, dislikes, overall popularity, user loyalty to a location, and the local expertise of top visitors. It also factors in whether a place is listed on one of its user-created lists.

My opinion?
I’m a Foursquare fan, so I hope that Foursquare can stay ahead of Facebook. The succes of Facebook Nearby also depends on how well the Facebook app works, which hasn’t been very reliable in the past.

I believe Facebook nearby is a smart way to activate more businesses on Facebook, which could spend some advertinsg budget as well on the network. But in the end the succes of Nearby depends on the audience, will we engage?

What About You?
So what’s your opinion? Do you think Nearby could be a Foursquare killer? We’d love to see your opinion in the comments below.

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About the author
Laurens Bianchi is an online marketing professional from the Netherlands and has been blogging on ViralBlog since 2008. Currently Laurens is a Managing Partner and Commercial Director at ICON&Co and Social Media Consultant for the Royal Dutch Football Association.



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Comments (3)

  • Igor Beuker 20/12/2012, 19:30

    Like you, I am a big foursquare fan, so I hope the same.

    In 2011 Facebook bought Gowalla and at that moment I also asked: will Foursquare survive all the powers around them. Until now, they still did, but I think they should increase their user base.

    I have worked with global brands last year, they loved Foursquare. But after a market breakdown some markets only had a few 100K Foursquare suers, which would be nicer if that would be a few million..

    What Facebook did with Gowalla??



    • I know that reach is important for brands, but don’t we noth agree that is better to have 1000 really engaged users than a 100,000 dead ones.. But that’s exactly the problem that Foursquare faces. In my opinion users hardly use it as a communication platform… Yes, people track each other’s check-ins and you can pass messages in Foursquare. But for some reason, this part of the service never really hit critical mass…

  • Igor Beuker 20/12/2012, 22:04

    Oh I certainly believe in quality over quantity. But I also know that Foursquare is looked at by retailers that would like to use SoLoMo to drive store traffic and retail sales.

    And I cannot blame retailers for thinking in large numbers. They will have to. I just saw the fashion outlook for 2020: it’s predicted that 30% of fashion sales will switch from offline to online. And maybe even 40%.

    So if you are a large leading retail brand: you need to act ruthless to try to keep up the sales in their stores.

    For that reason, Foursquare might be embraced by the “smaller” retail brands and local stores. No problem, there are plenty of local stores.

    Nevertheless, it is a very cool and fun app! Hope it stays and think it will.