A few months ago, when I learned of Foursquare’s plan to sever its app-defining “check-in” into a new application called “Swarm”, I penned an article here saying, quite frankly, that I thought it was a bad idea.
Apparently, I’m not the only one with these feelings.
In the past several weeks, my original post on this topic has been one of the most-viewed on this site– those numbers spiked late last week, after Foursquare sent an email to existing users (some of which is shown below), explaining what many of us already knew; Swarm would become the new place for check-ins, while Foursquare would re-design its flagship app into strictly a personalized local search product.
At this early stage, the reaction from users has been one of general disapproval.
Though Webmaster Tools won’t provide me with all search queries that result in site traffic, due to secure search, a look at some of the top queries to that particular post is quite telling:
The feedback on iTunes hasn’t been any more kind, with the app earning a 1 1/2 star rating thus far. In general, people are upset at having to download a separate app (the biggest complaint)– which, referencing my original post on the subject once again, was my immediate issue with Foursquare’s business plan.
It’s not even, unlike what those keyword queries would lead you to believe, that Swarm actually “sucks”– on the contrary, the app itself is designed fairly well. The problem, once again, is that Foursquare has ignored its user-base, and done away with most of the features that made it popular in the first place.
Mayorships. Points. The ability to see categories of places you’ve visited most often. While those technically still exist in Foursquare, they are gone from Swarm– and, one has to assume, will completely go away once Foursquare completes its transition.
While I’m not entirely ready to give up on the company yet, it’s getting close to “shit or get off the pot” time for Foursquare. Either start really listening to your fan-base, and reincorporate the features that made Foursquare popular in the first place, or, you may find, the “personalized local search” product you’re attempting to turn the flagship app into will have no audience left.
For those Swarm/Foursquare users that continue to visit this site in disapproval over the company’s changes, I suggest going to the new product’s iTunes page and voicing your displeasure. We may still have a chance to save Swarm…but, for me, my patience is running quite thin.