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Anatomy of a Foursquare special

Over the last few weeks, the much-hyped mobile app Foursquare began offering “nearby specials,” a new ad product that aims to tap your sense of spontaneity by your proximity. These ads have been few and far between, but on New Years Eve as I dined with friends at a French restaurant in Seattle — and as I checked in to mark the affair — I noticed a nearby special for a sushi restaurant right across the street.

Clicking over to the special reveals a useful offer for a free drink with a $20 purchase — if you show that you’ve checked in from the restaurant. Now with push alerts, the act of checking in can be a promotion vehicle in itself. One of my Foursquare friends, Ben, checked in all over the planet this evening, and each check-in popped up an alert on my iPhone (turns out he was shopping for clothes in my neighborhood). The Foursquare ecosystem, therefore, reinforces itself as it grows virally. But as with any new SMB ad product — especially the more experimental kind — the challenge is to attract enough participation from businesses to become a useful service. (Check out the Foursquare page for businesses here, which focuses on mayor deals.)

Plus: Foursquare launches an app for Palm Pre

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TV Everywhere is Making Authenticated Content Easier to Access

TV EverywhereTV Everywhere is the technological ability to watch whatever you want, whenever, however you want it (from your phone, tablet, laptop, etc.). It’s included as part of your cable subscription service, so it comes at no extra charge to you. The best part is that it is easy. The TV Everywhere site (http://www.youcouldbewatching.tv/) by CTAM (Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing) will guide you through the log-in and authentication process online and direct you to the individual cable and networks apps so that you can start watching TV everywhere.