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Groupon, Foursquare join forces to bring deals to check-ins

by Phil Hornshaw

A partnership between the uber-popular local coupon service Groupon and location-based services app Foursquare could make saving money insanely easy.

According to a story from Mashable, the new partnership starts today for users in the U.S. and Canada, adding Groupon Daily Deals to Foursquare’s “Explore” tab. That makes it easy to see exactly where those deals are available and redeem them from within Foursquare’s app. Here’s a quote from Mashable’s story:“Groupon’s regular daily deals and its newest real-time, location-based Groupon Now offers have gone live for users in the Chicago area. All Foursquare users in the U.S. and Canada can expect to see Groupon deals alongside the deals of Foursquare’s five other partners by Sunday.”

Those five other partners are LivingSocial, AT&T Interactive, BuyWithMe, Zozi and Gilt City, which Foursquare announced pairing with earlier this month. That makes six services that can funnel deals straight to Foursquare and its users, filling the big space left in the application of Foursquare’s social networking capabilities earlier in its development.

For those unfamiliar, Foursquare allows users to share where they are and what they’re doing there with friends and followers using what the company refers to as “checking in.” By using a smartphone’s GPS capabilities, users can find and check in to whatever location they’re visiting, like restaurants or event venues. That information is saved by Foursquare, which makes a bit of a game out of checking in by awarding digital badges for checking in to a certain place many times or for completing other requirements, such as checking in many times in one evening.

While Foursquare has had some involvement with businesses before, the power of the check-in and the popularity of Foursquare have made it clear that further steps were necessary to make it worthwhile for users to want to keep up with the service. Checking in more than anyone else to a certain location caused Foursquare to reward a user by naming it the location’s “mayor,” and at some businesses – notably Starbucks – mayors were entitled to discounts. With more business partners, Foursquare becomes even more relevant and offers a lot more ways for users to save money, as well as encouraging them to visit businesses in their areas.

Revenue sharing could broaden Foursquare’s appeal

For the Groupon partnership, Foursquare has confirmed that Groupon will share revenues on each deal sold with the social networking service. The numbers haven’t been disclosed. Groupon works by allowing users to sign up for a specific, usually rather large discount each day. Once enough users say they’ll take a deal, it becomes active and users can pay for it to get the coupon, which is redeemable usually for a long while after the purchase.

Both companies should benefit from the added exposure gained from the users of the other. Foursquare gets more deals and is able to offer more deals for its mayors, while Groupon brings more users into its fold that aren’t already subscribed to its emails. But the big winners most likely are the users, who are gaining even more options to find ways to save money in their neighborhoods.