Foursquare is enhancing its feature set for businesses today, with the introduction of a new verification service for merchants. The company says that for a one-time, $10 fee, owners and managers will now be able to instantly verify their business in order to start using Foursquare’s business tools, which include the ability to offer specials, update the business listing, and access data about their customers and visitors.
For those businesses that can’t register online, there’s still an option to verify the business via snail mail, but this is a much slower method. Foursquare says the mail-in option can take anywhere from three to four weeks to complete. In today’s age of instant gratification, that may as well be forever.
The business verification process walks the venue owner through a series of simple steps which begin with locating the listing on Foursquare, clicking the “claim” link which appears next to the listing (note that business owners will have to register and log in with a Foursquare account in order for this to work), and then finally, verifying that the manager is, indeed, actually the manager.
Business owners and managers have typically needed to provide Foursquare with their ID, the URL of the venue and links to the venue’s website, and/or page on Yelp, Google and CitySearch. Foursquare would then review the data and would follow up with a phone call to the business to confirm.
Obviously, the new $10 fee is only meant to slow down those who would want to illegitimately claim a venue as their own, but isn’t meant to be a major new source of revenue for the company to tap into.
Foursquare says that as of today, over 750,000 business have signed up to reach the company’s 20 million users via the free merchant tools provided. The new verification feature is U.S.-only for now. (Sorry, world).