Yelp ups ante on Foursquare check-ins
Last week, Yelp took a couple of steps to catch up with Foursquare, the either pointlessly irritating or strangely compelling social-media game that has users "check in" to shops, restaurants, bars and other establishments.
(Curious how long Apple's App Store can take to okay a name-brand company's upgrade to an already-approved program? Yelp wrote on June 4 that it had submitted this update. Have an Android smartphone? Yelp says it's bringing these features to its Android program next.)
First, if you check into enough places of the same kind on Yelp's iPhone app, you can earn virtual badges attesting to your love of sushi or pizza or airports or whatever. And if you visit the same place more often than other Yelpers, you'll earn the honorary title of "Duke" or "Duchess." Yelp's iPhone program will then let you share these glad tidings with Twitter followers or Facebook friends.
All those features duplicate Foursquare's badges and "mayorships" so closely that TechCrunch's MG Siegler called this display of mimicry "a little pathetic."
Yelp does, however, offer an extra wrinkle: If you become the Duke or Duchess of enough places in one neighborhood, it will dub you the "Baron" of that area. And the social butterfly who collects the most "Dukedoms" in a city gets to be crowned "King."
I don't know that I like all this.
Setting aside the issue of whether Yelp's titles of nobility sound vaguely un-American, having these different ranks seems to invite Yelp to add others to deepen the competition. How long until Yelp users vie to become earls, viscounts, princes, archdukes, crown princes and emperors?
Then there's the bigger issue of having to keep score on multiple social networks. If you're the Foursquare mayor of the corner bar, should you fire up the Yelp app to become Duke of the place? Should you then check in on the competing service Gowalla to reinforce your virtual rank? (Disclosure: The Post's Going Out Guide uses Gowalla to suggest itineraries around town.) And what about if Facebook releases its own rumored check-in feature?
I know that many of you don't care for any of these check-in games, but among those who do: How much personal bandwidth do you think we all have for competing forms of competitive social life?
June 14, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories: Location awareness , Privacy , Social media
Save & Share: Previous: Adobe updates Flash Player to 10.1 but preserves old reasons to hate Flash
Next: Starbucks caves, will make WiFi free July 1
Posted by: FloridaChick | June 14, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: CJH2 | June 14, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: robpegoraro | June 14, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: GuiasLocal | June 18, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.