ReachLocal subsidiary Bizzy has released an update to their recommendation application this morning that integrates Foursquare check-ins with their trademark rating feature, the “check-out.” Like SpotOn, Bizzy allows users to rate and share their opinions of local businesses with followers and friends as well as discover cafes, bars, and restaurants through personalized recommendations that draw on users social graphs and previous ratings.
“Participation is absolutely the key to success in this space,” Bizzy founder and president Gadi Shamia told Street Fight. “We kept hearing the same criticism from our users: ‘I’m checking-in to Foursquare all of the time, but I just never remember to check-out with Bizzy.’”
Beginning today, Bizzy users will receive a push notification an hour after they check-in to a relevant location with a prompt to check-out in Bizzy. When checking-out, users are asked to select “loved it,” “okay,” or “no thx” and have the option to snap a photo or write a short note to share with their friends. The new version will also allow users to browse past check-ins and rate locations retroactively.
“When we looked back at some of the older web review sites like Yelp, we saw that there were large barriers to participation when it came to writing reviews,” says marketing VP Ryan Kuder. Companies like Foursquare and Instagram made participation easy, he adds, “and we are happy to build off their success.”
Given the findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project earlier this week — which found that only 12 percent of smartphone users have checked-in to a geo-social service — Bizzy is smart to peg their ratings feature to Foursquare’s check-ins, rather than trying to reinvent what is a still an underdeveloped wheel.
When asked if Bizzy sees Foursquare as a potential threat to their core business, Shamia highlights the difference in the fundamental question which the two companies are asking: “Foursquare wants to know where you are, while Bizzy wants to know what you thought of the place you just left.”
Bizzy is far from being a Foursquare client, but real-time check-in data is central to their participation strategy and at this point, the Foursquare API is the only game in town. As Foursquare hashes out their monetization strategy, Bizzy should keep an eye on what the check-in king does with the Lists and Explore features.
Join top executives from Foursquare, goby, and SCVNGR for an in-depth discussion of the evolution and future of the check-in (among many other high-level panels) at the Street Fight Summit on October 25-26 in New York. Tickets are selling quickly — register to reserve yours today.