The Positive Pull of Competition

by Ron on August 20, 2010

Where am I?

Image by miss:anthrope via Flickr

Mashable reports this morning that FourSquare has had a record number of sign-ups in the wake of the Facebook Places launch, a launch that some suggested could mark the death of services like FourSquare (I know I was going to avoid those death sentences, but you know, sometimes it’s appropriate. See Death Becomes You).

The interesting thing is that FourSquare was not actually threatened by the Facebook Places launch, at least their CEO wasn’t letting on if they were. In an interview with the LA Times, FourSquare CEO Dennis Crowley had this to say about Facebook’s entry into the market:

“That’s the thing. Everyone keeps saying, “Oh my God, you guys must be so stressed with Facebook getting into this.” Not really. We spend a lot of our time telling people why location is important and why people want to check in. Facebook now gets to do that for us. We can focus on the stuff we want to do.”

So in their view, if Facebook is getting involved that will mainstream geo-location and be good for them. You might see that as putting a happy face on a bad situation, but it turns out that’s exactly what happened, at least for the short-term.

Instead of competition swallowing up the smaller stand-alone services, it boosted them via the positive pull of competition. Suddenly everyone was aware of geo-location instead of just a few people. Seems rumors of FourSquare and Gowalla’s deaths could have been greatly exaggerated after all.

Cross-posted on ‘by Ron Miller.’

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