Foursquare has been in the process of transitioning away from the check-in for much of the year, after splitting its product into two standalone apps, with the focus of the flagship product being discovery. One thing lost in the process was the badges and mayorship gamification elements that made Foursquare popular in its early days.
This changed today as the company introduced a new type of “status,” which its calling expertise. Users will gain ranking for leaving tips in various categories, such as coffee shops and Pizza, or particular neighborhoods.
It’s a model similar to that utilized by LinkedIn and Klout in which the social platforms have looked to categorize and recognize users for their various areas of expertise or influence. The difference, between Foursquare and these prior examples, is that the former check-in platform will base its rankings on a user’s activity within the platform, specifically as reviews. On LinkedIn and Klout, the rankings are based on the recommendations of fellow users.
For Foursquare, this focus on reviews is telling as to where the company’s priorities currently lay. The Experts feature appears to be Foursquare’s attempt to use gamification to drive users to create more content and/or more easily surface useful recommendations,
The new experts feature is not available yet – it will launch in the coming with the forthcoming product redesign – but the company offered a sneak preview to long standing users today. The company claims that Expertise has been one of the most popular features within the new version of Foursquare among beta testers.
Below is the full email sent by Foursquare to its early users this afternoon:
You’ve been with Foursquare for a while, and we’ve noticed you’ve unlocked a lot of badges (26, to be exact). So we wanted to give you a peek into a new type of status coming next week in the all-new Foursquare – expertise (think of it as badges for leaving great tips).
There are tens of millions of tips on Foursquare. And hundreds of millions of likes and saves on those tips. In the new Foursquare, we want to reward people who share their expertise, helping other people to great experiences. When you leave great tips, you make progress. And, the more people like or save them, the faster you’ll earn expertise. You can earn expertise at a type of place (like ‘Dumplings’ or ‘Vintage Shops’) or a neighborhood or city (who doesn’t want to have expertise of Chinatown or SoHo?).
Once you’ve earned an expertise, we both mark your tips as coming from an expert (so the world knows), and make sure more people see them because they’re high quality. And, when you’re looking for great things to do when you’re at a place, you can see which ones come from experts.
Among our early testers of the new Foursquare, this was one of the most popular features. We’re excited for you to play with it soon in the all-new Foursquare, and for you to show the world what you’re an expert in.
– Team Foursquare