Vote: Will Europeans use Gowalla, FourSquare or what?

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So it’s been nearly 10 days since Foursquare launched its social mobile game ‘ground assault’ into 50 more cities, including a bunch of European ones. But what I’d like to know is who’s actually using it here in Europe?

Because, you see, Europeans are already quite well served by location based mobile applications like Qype, the various localised versions of Yelp, and other startups like Rummble. And there are increasingly new kids on the block like Flook.

What is clear however, is that only Foursquare and Gowalla (at least to my knowledge) have come up with this gaming approach to ‘checking in’ which has attracted so much interest from high profile blogs like TechCrunch and bloggers like Robert Scoble.

The question is, which will scale and ultimately prove the winner? Because – at least in this instance – we have two distinct approaches to the issue of social, mobile and location.

One the one hand the more ‘utilitarian’ approach of European startups has generally concentrated on providing Yelp-like ratings mechanisms for venues and places. Increasingly they have placed money-off voucher-codes front and centre in their business model (and there are plenty of iPhone apps for just vouchers based on your location, like Bview, Rippll, Vouchacha and Vooch).

On the other hand in the U.S., the new wave of social mobile startups has produced sites like Brightkite, but more latterly two main players in the from of Foursquare and Gowalla. Their approach has been to lure users into a points-based checking in game which will presumably create a voucher-based business model via the back door – eventually.

Incredibly this is playing out like so many other US versus European startup battles that have happened before: the US player goes after scale and traction, the European players go after monetisation first.

It’s going to be extremely interesting to see this battle play out. So to get a sense of who is using what and where, I’m going to pitch Foursquare and Gowalla against eachother for starters. After that I’ll be delving deeper into this battleground and the players, from a European perspective.

I’d like you to vote on the two polls below and we’ll then go from there. I’ll close the polls on Monday, so get voting. And please, be honest about where you are.

  • J Tod Fetherling

    What about GPS Assassins? Seems to be missing in the list of mobile based games.

  • josh

    Probably neither, if they’re straight. “Look at me, I’m the mayor of this pub, even though I dont get anything for it!”

  • eric

    I just tried all of the apps mentioned above, and what I don’t like about gowalla or foursquare is that you need to sign in before doing anything.

    foursquare then gives me a list of places, but not what they are, gowalla’s is also a list, but with icons telling me what kind of place it is.
    foursquare’s is more cultural right now, gowalla more food and drink orientated.

    now what I like about flook is that it doesn’t require a login to browse, and that you browse cards that you flip through with photos and info on them. all the cards near amsterdam are crap right now, but I can really see this growing.

    qype doesn’t have amsterdam in the online database, and rummbles website was so uninviting that I didn’t even try.

    my verdict:
    flook will be great for when you are walking around a new place trying to discover stuff, but it will need a lot of people building “cards” for it soon, but I will start using it. and from the battle between gowalla and foursquare I will use gowalla because of the category icons and the fun aspect. although the places mentioned on foursquare are more inviting to me, so I will keep that one too.

    hmmm, I’d say it’s a three-way tie in my case.

    • Roger Nolan

      Eric, thanks for the kind words – after just over a week we’re really happy with the cards people are making. We’d love to see your flooks in Amsterdam. Actually, we’d love to visit Amsterdam and flook it ourselves :-)

      In the meantime, we’re building robots to find content where we don’t have users:

    • Andrew J Scott

      Hi Everyone – I’m always a happy man to see more posts around location related services and mobile. 2010 will be an exciting year! Some responses:

      @eric You’re completely right, our website is a mess at the moment; it is very feature rich however. We’re on the case to make it much cleaner, easier to use and relaunch it accordingly. Didn’t you try Rummble for iPhone? that is a much better experience :-)

      @murat We have extensive Twitter and Facebook integration, with more coming soon. Be great to hear your thoughts – feel free to tweet us @rummble we’re always greatful for feeadback.

      @Sheryl Breuker, Rummble works anywhere in the world. In addition you can search for places you’re not in. Let us know what you think!

  • 听书人


  • Martin Destagnol

    And don’t forget also OpenPlayce that will be out next month : !

  • Richard Sticken

    Do you like my chicken?

  • Michael

    Hey everyone,

    does anyone of you know a startup/company that is covering “the other side of the coin”?
    So is there any service that helps businesses manage several mobile-spot-seeking-applications at once?
    I’ve heard of wildfire (guess its that helps businesses organize events (games, coupons etc.) on social network.
    Do you know of any compandy doing that for mobile services??


  • Murat

    I don’t think either will be very popular. Trying to get most of my friends on one service to make it fun enough to use is nearly impossible. That’s why Facebook is so good.

    If this seamlessly integrated with location based Facebook updates then maybe but otherwise this is going to suffer from the Myspace/Twitter syndrome with my mates.

    • Jane Sales

      Hi there – definitely something that’s in our plans. We’re already well integrated with Twitter – you can find tweets near you, and tweet your flooks. Facebook needs a little more care – you don’t want to spam your friends – but will be in flook soon. Email me – jane at flook dot it – if you want to give me your input on what you’d like to see in flook.

  • Michael

    “[…]that helps businesses manage THEIR APPEARANCE ON several mobile-spot-seeking-applications at once?” I meant – thank god its friday! :-D

  • Sheryl Breuker

    A couple of things that need to be taken into consideration before predicting how well each of these apps will do have to do with device being used, Gowalla requires an iphone, not an ipod touch, and foursquare requires you to be in specific cities. Both of those are deal breakers for many people.

    If Gowalla would provide support for more devices it would win. If Foursquare could handle more cities it would. They are very elite programs as they stand now.

  • Sheryl Breuker

    A couple of things that need to be taken into consideration before predicting how well each of these apps will do have to do with device being used, Gowalla requires an iphone, not an ipod touch, and foursquare requires you to be in specific cities. Both of those are deal breakers for many people.

    If Gowalla would provide support for more devices it would win. If Foursquare could handle more cities it would. They are elite programs as they stand now.

  • Hauser

    I think you guys are getting ahead of yourselves. You might also want to ask: will people use these apps in the US, outside of the early adoptard crowd?

  • Hector Ramos

    I think Gowalla will have the upper hand once it supports more devices. They already are being used in more places since they are not locked down by city.

    I’m actually running a Gowalla scavenger hunt on my blog today, letting people go through my checked in spots and try to figure out where I hid some Gowalla swag.

  • Carmen Roberto

    I think you missed out this up and coming location based social network:

    They are currently on closed beta and I managed to get a glimpse of their amazing platform!

    Maybe you can request for some exclusive invites for TC readers?

  • maxciociola

    mobnotes is much more popular in europe than gowalla and foursquare….

  • Tim

    I use Gowalla in Reading.

    Reading should be on that list as it is clearly a tech town.

    • Roger Nolan

      We’re in Henley and Reading is well flooked ;-)

  • Jabba The Hut

    Jabba thinks its all a load of PR Intergalatic Beetledung. These are NOT valuable apps. These are casual games. There are more useful location based Apps coming out. Jabba knows ;P Blueerggkkk!!

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  • Ilan Peer

    Yeah, Melbourne is in Europe but Tel Aviv isn’t. the poll sucks.

    • Mike Butcher

      Apologies, a slip of the cut and paste fingers. (Tel Aviv is in the Middle East – we’re trying to focus here).

  • Casey R

    I’m in Birmingham, UK and Foursquare is really taking off here, as well as London. I’m a professional musician, as are most of the people I know, and there’s a serious buzz about it!

    However, me and my close social circle started using Twitter in Q3 2007, and the majority of our wide social circle didn’t catch on till Q1 2009…….same thing’ll probably happen with 4SQ.

  • Roger Nolan

    Why is the vote about cities not services?

  • Michael Slattery

    I’ve been in the top 3 on the Paris Foursquare leaderboard for two weeks in a row. When I told my daughter that, she said: “Wow, that means it’s tiny!”

  • Manolo Hernandez

    It seems there’s no dominant player in Europe.I don’t for other countries, but the most popular geolocation-based social network in Spain is currently Tooio.

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  • Mike

    I use
    More focus on the location as a social object and personally I think the website itself is more usable there…

    • Mike

      Oops sorry, got the link wrong. Second try:

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