January 10, 2013

Foursquare’s New Privacy Policy Helps Businesses Study Demographics

by Jaimie Siegle | Advertising Systems Inc.

When Instagram subtly changed its privacy policy last month, the public disagreed not only with the reformed policy but also with its lack of transparency with it users. To say that the company, which was bought by Facebook for $1 billion last year, received heavy criticism would be an understatement. (After the public backlash, Instagram reverted its policy.)

To avoid making the same mistake, Foursquare recently announced changes to its privacy policy and how it would affect both businesses and users. The new policy, which goes into effect Jan. 28, will ask users for first and last names and  But it also benefits small businesses listed in its database: by providing a limited (read: 3-hour) history about about users who “check-in” to their store(s). These demographic insights will help business owners learn more about their customer base, and can be a valuable tool for developing target marketing and social media strategies.

According to ZDNet, “the biggest revision, one that small-business owners should welcome, is that companies will now be able to access information about customer check-ins for more than the previous three-hour window they could see in the past. That means if your staff is too busy to check in the middle of the day, it could check after closing time and collect more customer information than might have been possible before.”

Although there are a few criticisms to the new policy, overall the public seems to be OK with the changes thus far. What do you think of the updated privacy policy? Do you plan to use Foursquare’s new insights?

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