updated 10:30 pm EST, Fri March 4, 2011
Foursquare 3.0 and AmEx deal due at SXSW
Foursquare promised a major turnout at the South by Southwest festival (SXSW) with a teaser and one of its first direct partnerships. The company is promising the 3.0 version of its app for Android and iOS users at the Austin gathering, possibly soon as March 11. What 3.0 would entail wasn't mentioned, but iPad support is a candidate, as is more advanced media sharing; 18 new badges are in store regardless of platform.
Side-by-side with the software, the company also planned a partnership with American Express. Card owners can register their numbers with Foursquare and get discounts at stores linked to the social check-in service. Both hope to drive users and encourage loyalty.
The initial project will roll out during SXSW and will see about 60 local stores offering a spend-five-to-save-five deal somewhat similar to a Groupon discount. They eventually plan to take the plan nationwide at an undetermined point in the future. Foursquare has stressed that it's not making any money in the Austin version, but hasn't said whether the expansion will see it take a cut of any sale.
Foursquare has had minor deals with companies before, such as a special badge for Starbucks, but until now hadn't taken on a company as large as American Express or as direct a deal.