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Wow is this bad timing or what! We were the first to report on the downtime experienced by location-based service Foursquare yesterday. The major tech blogs posted about the outage somewhere around 9 hours later. Thanks to Alex at NextWeb for linking to CN on his outage post yesterday afternoon.
Today the Foursquare team posted a very technical explanation of why the site was down for so long yesterday. The downtime was related to their database provider MongoDB and some sort of small, sharp pieces of glass called shards. Apparently the outcome is that every Foursquare user gets two free check-ins at their favorite establishment.
And a CN reader just let us know that the service is down again. Wow and I thought I had bad timing! The new Foursquare status blog has a note that today’s outage is related to yesterday’s outage. Twitter users are once again confused as to handle going outside because they can’t tell the world via Twitter where they are.
All I know is this poor girl seen in the image below has been crying a lot the last day. Let’s hope she starts smiling really soon!
Update: The Foursquare team has posted a recap of what happened with the outage. Seems a lot of it revolves around the database provider they use – MongoDB.
Popular NY-based location-based service Foursquare is currently either down, servers are being upgraded or the service is over capacity depending on how you access the service. Twitter users are noting that they are unable to check in on their mobile devices and are receiving the “over capacity” error message. The Foursquare website shows the message below noting that they are currently upgrading the servers.
The Foursquare support Twitter account notes, “The servers are overloaded but we’re working on it! We will be back up ASAP. #caseofthemondays”.
I know when Twitter is down, we get on the Friendfeed bus. When Facebook is down, we take the train to MySpace. But where do we go when Foursquare is down?
Feel free to report in on how you are spending your time since you can’t currently accumulate badges for being the mayor of your favorite coffee shop or in at least one case, your BFFs car.
Update: 4:20pm Eastern - foursquare.com is still providing the message seen below.
Update 2 – We are hearing from many users (they want to remain anonymous) that they are staying at home until the service is restored. One user called us on our tips hotline noting that it just “isn’t worth going out if you can’t get a badge”.
Update 3: 7:45pm Eastern – Foursquare has been down over 6 hours now. I bought a pack of poster board and some felt – if you want a badge made, leave a comment with the type of badge you would like.
By now we all know that the new valley darling is Foursquare. Will Foursquare be the next breakout startup? Only time (and lots of pumping blog posts from a few new reporters) will tell. Before I continue let me state that I very much believe in location-based services. I wrote the business documentation and code for a location-based concept during my MBA studies in 2004. And I think there is an amazing future for services that are based around location — especially as mobile devices become smarter.
Last week, the Gap ran a promotion where users who “check-in” at a Gap store received a 25% discount on their purchases. All of the foursquare bloggers ran posts explaining how this demonstrates the power of Foursquare. Of course the discount was also available to basically anyone using a code.
One of the interesting elements to online couponing that many seem to miss in every post is that the deal sites are the ones who pump the coupons and make them a success. For example, a deal on Twitter’s earlybird deal account, will be pumped through sites like Fatwallet and Slickdeals and users of both of these sites will never see or use the earlybird account. The same goes for “Twitter-only” deals from Dell Outlet and Virgin America.
Continue reading “Groupon Teaches You Why Coupons Are Better Than Checkins For Deals” »
About eight years ago I applied for a job at one of the largest insurance companies. After a few phone interviews and some testing, I made it to the in-person interview. I showed up in my suit and tie, the portfolio had copes of my resume printed on nice bond, and I met with several executives. After the team interview was over, I met with the HR person. She said that the team liked what I had to say and my vision and she said that the only things left were the drug test and the “Google test”. She then rotated her chair towards her computer, loaded Google into her browser and typed in my name. For the next 10 minutes she browsed links that had my name associated with them and she explained that they like to look into the background of the people they hire.
Lately we’ve read reports about people losing their job or not receiving a job offer because of what they write about on their blog or post on one of the social networks. But what about the new location tools like Foursquare and Gowalla? Could using one of these services be the quickest ticket to a pink slip or a non-offer? While I don’t think that either service will hit the mainstream, no matter how much a certain tech blog pumps Foursquare, no other service shows off everywhere you go like the location-based services do. In fact, on Foursquare and Gowalla you are rewarded for showing off where you go in the form of silly badges, pins and stamps.
The Apple iPhone developer’s blog has an interesting entry from yesterday that discusses location-based advertising in iPhone apps. The usage of GPS functionality to deliver local information must provide “beneficial information” to the user.
The entry notes (my emphasis), “If you build your application with features based on a user’s location, make sure these features provide beneficial information. If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store.”
MacNN has a good look into what this decision means for developers and for Apple. “Many analysts believe Apple is preparing to launch a mobile advertising network that will serve ads through free apps on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The company recently acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising specialist, after reportedly failing to sign a deal to purchase AdMob. The latter company was later picked up by Google,” MacNN notes.