Foursquare Competitor SCVNGR Gives Its Users An Identity

Location-based gaming startup SCVNGR is continuing to flesh out its Foursquare competitor. Today, the service is launching online profile pages, giving users the ability to showcase all of the challenges they’ve completed, as well as the associated photos and tips to other players. It’s hardly a huge feature, but it’s one that the service has been sorely lacking (and was, unsurprisingly, the most requested feature after launch).

For those that haven’t tried it, SCVNGR shares similarities with services like Foursquare and Gowalla in that it’s based around ‘checking in’ at various venues. But it places a much bigger emphasis on what you actually do at these venues by offering an array of challenges. These include things like prompting users to take photos of themselves or to answer a riddle based on clues at their current location (for example, one of the default challenges at restaurants is “Fear Factor”, where you take take a photo from an odd angle to make whatever you’re eating look unappetizing). Because these challenges often yield photos and other content you’d probably want to share with friends, it’s pretty crucial that users have a way to show them off in one place on the web.

Along with profiles, the service is also boosting its sharing functionality. SCVNGR CEO Seth Priebatsch says that the app’s initial integrations with Facebook and Twitter were weak — now it will be easier to share your stories out to the social networks. But instead of broadcasting everything you do to these services (which is incredibly annoying), SCVNGR will use some intelligence to only share the ‘higher quality’ stories (assuming you connect your Facebook or Twitter account). Priebatsch also says that a lot of emphasis was placed on the page’s clean design, and the result does indeed look quite nice.

Priebatsch says that SCVNGR has seen strong growth since it launched its consumer facing service in May.  But it still has a long way to go before it catches up to the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla in terms of consumer usage and awareness.  That said, unlike its competitors, SCVNGR has an existing premium business that caters to universities, businesses, cities, and other organizations, who use its platform for things like student orientations and city tours. This original business is doing quite well, so SCVNGR probably afford to have a lengthy rampup on its consumer-facing play. The team is growing quickly too — at Google I/O last month SCVNGR’s headcount was around 40, it’s now up to 64 people.