Well, this is a potentially huge partnership. After extended negotiations, Groupon deals will finally start to appear in Foursquare. And it’s not just the normal daily Groupons that will appear, but also the newer mobile Groupon Now deals. The inclusion of instant Groupon Now deals sets this partnership apart from the other daily deal partnerships Foursquare announced earlier this month with LivingSocial, Gilt City, zozi, BuyWithMe and AT&T.
Those specials are all for regular daily deals which cannot be purchased immediately. You need to buy the deals, but cannot redeem them until after all the deals have been sold that day. That is just how daily deals work, which makes sense when you are buying them from your computer. But when you are looking for deals nearby on your mobile phone, you want to be able to redeem them spontaneously.
Groupon Now is designed to do just that. These are mobile deals available in its own apps, as well as through distribution partnerships with other mobile apps such as Loopt, and now Foursquare. Groupon Now deals are now available in 25 cities, and they will appear in Foursquare alongside other specials and daily deals from other partners. But the fact that they can be redeemed instantly will set them apart. They also close the redemption loop and will allow better tracking of deals because Groupon knows exactly how many deals are redeemed and when (as opposed to just knowing how many vouchers have been sold).
These are exactly the kind of deals that make sense within the context of Foursquare. By partnering with an established mobile app that has been downloaded more than 10 million times, Groupon gets instant distribution. (Seriously, how many of you are going to download the Groupon Now app?). People use Foursquare for other reasons, and now they get to see deals also as an added bonus. It’s a good way to introduce these new types of deals and gradually expand them.
So why didn’t Foursquare announce Groupon back when it did the other partnerships with LivingSocial and the rest? The hold-up was that Foursquare requires Groupon and all partners to consume Foursquare’s APIs rather than the other way around. From what I can gather it was a bit of a butting of platforms. But it’s all good now. Foursquare also had to do a little engineering work to add a “redemption window” for deals that are only good for a certain time if day such as many Groupon Now deals. Expect to see other Foursquare specials take advantage of that redemption window soon.
Foursquare’s business development director Tristan Walker will be speaking today at our Mobile CrunchUp in Palo Alto. Now I know what I’ll be asking him.