I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine, Cody Fink of MacStories, and we started talking about Foursquare and who would potentially acquire the hot geo-locaiton startup. Facebook has reportedly tried, as well as Yahoo!, and Google already acquired, and soon after, killed Dodgeball, which was founded by Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert, both of whom work on Foursquare now.
If there was one company that seemed to make sense, it’s Groupon. But let’s think for a minute that a 5 Billion acquisition offer wasn’t on the table from Google, and things were going normally for Groupon. (Update: Reports are saying that the Google/Groupon deal is off.)
Facebook Places has been a huge threat for all geo-location services like Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, and the list can go on. Obviously Facebook poses a huge threat to these services due to the fact that Facebook is close to 600 million users, and growing. Turning on Places to the more then 200 million active users using Facebook through their mobile device is quite scary for anyone competing with the social network, but there has to be a way around that.
If there’s one thing brands are loving about Facebook Places, it’s the rewards aspects. Being able to put your brand in front of that many people through their mobile phone has been a challenge for large brands, and Facebook has found a solution for that.
So where does Foursquare come into the picture? Simple — Foursquare has a great user interface and experience, and they’ve done a decent job of doing rewards with brands like GAP for example, but that’s only a 5 million user reach. If Groupon partnered, or even acquired Foursquare, being able to infuse Groupon’s deals with Foursquare’s geo-location feature seems like an overall win for both services, and could mean for some great competition to Facebook.
Considering that Facebook and Groupon will IPO eventually, that’s if Google doesn’t buy Groupon, this could be great for everyone at the table.
In the end, Facebook still is the social network powerhouse that we all know of, and Groupon is making a ton of money, something Foursquare is probably not doing so much of. Only time will tell at this point.