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Marketing Pioneer Rich Gorman Sounds Off on Facebook/Foursquare Showdown

Competition Between Foursquare and Facebook Is Heating Up, Drawing the Attention of Marketer Rich Gorman

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 12/26/12 -- Online marketing guru Rich Gorman points out that, earlier this year, the popular app Foursquare made a major leap forward from its early days as a "check-in" service, incorporating local search functions that effectively make it a key player in local discovery apps -- and a direct competitor with other services based on local shopping and business listings, like Yelp. Now, that competition has grown increasingly heated, as Facebook has entered the fray and Foursquare has continued to expand its services. These recent developments in local search and discovery have drawn the attention of many online marketing experts, including direct response pioneer Gorman. Gorman has issued a new statement to the press, weighing in on recent actions taken by Foursquare and by Facebook.

"What Foursquare seemed to realize, earlier this year, is that simply existing as a 'check-in' app was not enough to ensure its longevity, particularly not when so many other social platforms are making such creative use of geolocal data," opines Gorman, in his press statement. "The company very shrewdly entered into the booming, ever-expanding local search market, and in doing so established itself as a competitive company -- but now that Facebook has begun nipping at its heels, the waters are significantly cloudier."

A recent report from TechCrunch spells out some of the specific innovations that have recently been unveiled by Facebook and by Foursquare. TechCrunch notes that Facebook recently unveiled a new incarnation of its mobile "Nearby" tab, which allows mobile Facebook users to find recommendations for local businesses to visit, ranging from retail shops to restaurants. The "Nearby" feature has been noted by many tech experts for how similar it is to Foursquare's own location-based discovery services.

TechCrunch then reports that, following the rollout of the revamped Nearby tab, Foursquare struck back at Facebook, announcing that its own recommendation service will now make use of data gleaned directly from Facebook. That is, when a user is signed into both Facebook and Foursquare, the recommendations offered by the latter service will be influenced by public activity from the user's Facebook friends. Foursquare has heralded this innovation for its ability to provide "better personalized insights."

According to Gorman, it is coming to look more and more like the two services have a direct rivalry with one another, if not in terms of overall social influence than at least in the field of local discovery. Gorman says that while both services have their strengths, Facebook has one ace in the hole. "While it is impossible to predict exactly how this rivalry will shake out, it is equally impossible to ignore the one thing Facebook has which nobody can take away from it -- namely, name recognition," notes Gorman. "Foursquare faces an uphill battle when it comes to stealing customers away from Facebook, simply because Facebook is so ubiquitous."

There are additional reasons why Gorman says the advantage lies with the Facebook team. "You can come at this from multiple perspectives, but no matter how you look at it, Facebook is the 500-pound gorilla in the room," says Gorman. "Facebook brings a much larger user base than Foursquare itself, which is obviously going to play to Facebook's favor."

Still, Gorman says that there are some factors that allow Foursquare to remain competitive. "What Facebook has banked on, beyond its large user base and its brand recognition, is the fact that people would prefer to get recommendations from their Facebook friends, not from total strangers," he muses. "However, in incorporating Facebook data into its own results, Foursquare is effectively taking that advantage away from Facebook, leveling the playing field just a bit."

Rich Gorman is a long-time pioneer in the field of direct response marketing, and he is currently active on the Web at Quora.

ABOUT:

Rich Gorman is a prolific innovator, a serial entrepreneur, and a major name in the direct response marketing industry. His brand, Direct Response, is one of the foremost entities in the affiliate marketing field; through the Direct Response blog, Gorman gives away millions of dollars in trade secrets and insider expertise, all as a part of his passion for delivering value to other companies and industry professionals.

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