By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
People love living like stars. Oh, I want Beyonce’s favorite Nintendo DS game, or I want Diddy’s Sean John… we are obsessed with the most fabulous lives of celebs — even though Behind the Music tells us otherwise. To help you take your star obsession to the next level and turn on stalker mode, FourSquare and Bravo! have partnered so you can visit the Bravo! star’s favorite locales. The partnership is the most recent deal for the uber-hipster social networking game, FourSquare, to grow its user-base up the adopter curve (are you listening Google Latitude?).
The much-hyped, FourSquare, is a location-based social networking game for smartphones, with apps for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. FourSquare users earn points and unlock badges to take ownership over favorite locations. The social network game boasts over 300,000 users and enables push notifications to other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
To grow its initial Innovator user-base (see above), Foursquare appealed to 20something tragically hip urban hipsters (wait, was that a Gen X reference?) with its ironic Douchebag awards and locale Mayorship. “In the Bay Area, [FourSquare] has turned into a pretty valuable utility,” Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg and an investor in both Foursquare and Gowalla. To appeal to this young demographic, FourSquare partnered with the trendy New York-based frozen treat franchise, Tasti D-Lite, to create rewards points for D-Lite’s loyal, young, hip Pecan Preline Crunchy customers.
Now, FourSquare is making its way up the adoption curve to early adopters with its recent partnership with Bravo! The social network game is reaching out to Bravo!’s more broad, mainstream, creative audience. Makes sense: Bravo!’s audience is young, tech-savvy and trendy — in-line with FourSquare.
FourSquare is going to activate Bravo!’s audience by allowing users live like Bravo!’s stars and win prizes (a sad, lonely millionaire from Patti’s matchmaker show?), such as Kelly from Kell on Earth and Patti from the Millionaire Matchmaker. Users will play alongside the show by using FourSquare’s “checking in” at bars, restaurants and other places to win badges, prizes and other incentives at 500 Bravo! locations. Just imagine, you could hang out at Kelly’s favorite New York trendy cafe and win a… mocha-colored dress?
When and how will FourSquare cross the chasm between early adopters and early majority? Based on the adoption curve of Facebook and Twitter, we guesstimate one and a half to two years. Facebook and FourSquare follow a similar path. Remember when Facebook used to be for just beer-guzzling college students? Those were the Innovators. When the social network grew out of its college skin — and opened its doors to the world — Early Adopters became young, non-college students. The world friended Facebook by year two — pushing it over the chasm to early adopters.
For FourSquare, it will ultimately need to move beyond Bravo!’s trendy Gen X audience to cross the chasm in traditional Evil Knievel-like fashion. To capture soccer moms and Boomers (1/3 the population, or 80 million strong), FourSquare will need to streamline its platform. The Douchebag award might one day evolve into Tiger Toddlers Soccer Mom Award. “This brings up an interesting dilemma for Foursquare: do they abandon some of the fun, quirky things that made the service what it is, in an attempt to go mainstream?” writes TechCrunch.
The Bravo! deal is just the lift-off ramp for FourSquare to cross the chasm to reach the early majority. As there is no clear market leader, FourSquare could become the Facebook of location-based media and ubiquitous with social networking.