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Posted at 1:10 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Foursquare posts 2010 stats: Almost 382 million check-ins

By Rob Pegoraro

The numbers are in, and by them Foursquare had an outstanding 2010. The New York-based startup posted a graphic this morning, headlined "2010: Our Year Of 3400% Growth," to tout its achievements.

The most important data point among them: 381,576,305 total check-ins worldwide -- including at least one from North Korea. (I've asked Foursquare for clarification about where that check-in occurred and am hoping it didn't involve an underground nuclear-weapons lab.) An accompanying blog post says its 6 millionth user signed up last week.


The rest of the graphic, as you can see here, is sprinkled with details culled from that stream of check-ins at such establishments as train stations, hotels and "food and drink" purveyors. They don't exactly belie the stereotype of Foursquare as a preoccupation of New York hipsters -- Penn Station beat out Tokyo's far busier Shibuya and Shinjuku stations, while Manhattan's Ace Hotel and Union Square Greenmarket topped the hotel and food-and-drink categories.

Washington shows up in a few places, too. The single most popular check-in location was October's Rally to Restore Sanity on the Mall, with 30,525 check-ins; the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History ranked as the second-most-popular art gallery; and the Old Ebbitt Grill appeared as the second-most-popular wine bar (though I have to question the categorization of the last two establishments).

But the information I'd really like to see -- how Foursquare's numbers compare with the reception Facebook has seen for the Places check-in feature it launched in August -- doesn't appear in that graphic.

It would also be interesting to see how many people have used Yelp's new check-in system. But I suspect that number is far smaller than Facebook's: It reported 41 million visitors to its site (PDF) in December, while Facebook counts more than 200 million users of its mobile site and software alone.

Facebook and Yelp publicists have not yet responded to queries.

One hint about Facebook's check-in audience came in October, when Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson cited one unnamed source at the Palo Alto, Calif., company as saying the site had 30 million users who had tried Places once. But he went on to note that over five weeks, three high-profile New York eateries saw from three to 10 times more Foursquare check-ins, suggesting that the newer site's users were far more motivated than Facebook's.

(As you may have read here before, Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook's board of directors. He's also an active Facebook user, but I've yet to see him check in anywhere.)

Carlson's observation pretty much matches my own usage. I've limited my Facebook check-ins to times when I have some status update in mind or when I think checking in might help me find nearby Facebook acquaintances -- for instance, when I've had a long layover at an airport. On Foursquare, however, check-ins are much more routine. And I think one reason why is my lower visibility there; I'm a lot pickier about accepting Foursquare friend requests.

(If you want to ask why I bother at all, go right ahead. All of my Foursquare check-ins have, to date, yielded only one real-world benefit: a buy-one-beer-get-one-free offer at my CES hotel, which I used to treat my video producer to a drink.)

Have you checked out any check-in services on your phone? If so, which ones do you use, and how did you decide to give them your business?

1:13 p.m. Added a copy of Foursquare's graphic with permission from the site.

By Rob Pegoraro  | January 24, 2011; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  Location awareness, Social media  
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thanks for sharing! fun post :-)

Posted by: jiji1 | January 24, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

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