13 Comments

Summary:

The Wall Street Journal has launched a partnership with Foursquare that will show readers links to stories and reviews about local landmarks in New York, and allow them to win special badges. But will this actually help the Journal, or is it just a PR stunt?

The Wall Street Journal, which has waded into a fierce battle for local New York readers with the New York Times, has turned to the uber-hip social networking service Foursquare for some reinforcements. The Journal announced today that readers can get news and reviews about local spots in the Big Apple through a partnership with Foursquare, and can win special badges that have been created for the newspaper, including the “Urban Adventurer” and “Lunch Box” badges. It seems like an interesting extension of the Journal’s core mandate to deliver news and information, but the important question is whether it will help the paper in any tangible way.

The news and review items are tagged by the Journal with specific locations, so that when a user checks in at that spot with Foursquare, they appear as related “tips.” A recent visit to the Journal’s page on Foursquare showed that news items included one about the George Washington Bridge:

Police were told to stop and search would-be subway bomber Najibullah Zazi’s car in Sept. 2009 as he drove up to the bridge — but waved him across without finding two pounds of explosives hidden inside.

There was also one about a local restaurant called Aureole:

For lunch, served from noon to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, the most popular entrees are the miso Alaskan black cod ($26) and the grilled burger with bacon and pickled ramp dressing ($19)

And local attractions such as Citi Field:

Watch out for the Mets’ power-hitting outfielder Jason Bay: He’s one of the 10 streakiest hitters in baseball, either very hot or ice cold — and, so far this season, the latter.

Interesting links, but are they relevant to users of Foursquare? That’s hard to say. The restaurant news was 12 hours old, and the George Washington Bridge item appeared to be about something that happened a year ago. There were also items about new events at the Lincoln Center, how Alex Rodriguez is the slowest runner on the New York Yankees, some info about The Mark Hotel’s financial woes and some SEC financial news tagged to the headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

This isn’t the first partnership Foursquare has formed with a news outlet; earlier this year, it signed a deal with Metro News International to provide news items related to local venues in Toronto, and more recently the location-based social networking provider did a deal with the Financial Times to offer points to students who check in at specific locations (Harvard, the London School of Economics, etc.) which can later be redeemed for access to articles behind the paper’s paywall.

The Journal’s experiment with Foursquare is worth applauding, if only because there is so little experimentation coming from some traditional media outlets. But it’s still an open question as to whether it will have tangible results for the WSJ. Are Foursquare users potential Journal subscribers? Will the paper pursue potential advertising connections with Foursquare locations in addition to offering reviews and/or news? That might be better done via Foursquare or Yelp, since they are in that space already — and so what kind of payoff does the Journal get from these partnerships apart from looking cool and hip? Perhaps that is enough for owner Rupert Murdoch.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Onlinehandyman Monday, April 26, 2010

    I think that it will catch on, but just like everything else with local it is going to take time for people to get used to it. Old news is uncommon and most tips are up to date.

  2. And why would I want to “friend” someone on the soon-to-be subscription-only Wall Street Journal? From reading comments, it appears that most of the active posters are crypto-fascists. I’m a subscriber, but rarely post or read comments. I have zero interest in the “social media” aspects of either the WSJ or the NYT (to which I also subscribe).

  3. Sanjay Maharaj Monday, April 26, 2010

    The idea and the concept is very appealing indeed.Great to see media embracing new technology and become innovative. I have yet to see media innovative and take advantage of the convergence of the mobile and internet, this is a step in the right direction.

  4. The George Washington Bridge piece isn’t a year old, it’s about new information that came to light about a story that began a year ago.

  5. what will help the WSJ and other print media is better customer service. as a 20 year subscriber, i am charged 300% more to renew versus a first-timer. that doesn’t make sense. reward loyalty.

    i do applaud efforts like this however…gotta try!

  6. Is Geolocation a Real Business or Just a Feature? Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    [...] as well as several entertainment companies including HBO and Warner Brothers — and recently formed a partnership with the Wall Street [...]

  7. If WSJ wants to offer its subscribers up-to-date information about current/popular events in the local area, they would be much better off using apps like buzzd. buzzd offers real-time reviews and updates from its 1mm subscribers, as well as aggregating information from other social media sites. This information is certainly more valuable and pertinent than what Foursquare can currently offer in NYC..

  8. If WSJ wants to offer up-to-date information about local happenings to its users, it should be using the application, buzzd. buzzd offers real-time reviews and streams about restaurants, nightlife venues, etc. with live updates from its 1mm users and by aggregating information from many different social media sites. Its certainly the best way to find out whats happening in your area!

  9. Is Geolocation a Real Business or Just a Feature? – A Collection of Latest Happening in Technology Field Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    [...] as well as several entertainment companies including HBO and Warner Brothers — and recently formed a partnership with the Wall Street [...]

  10. Huffington Post Does a Foursquare, Offers Readers Badges for Behavior Thursday, April 29, 2010

    [...] is using badges makes much more sense to me than something like the Wall Street Journal’s recent partnership with Foursquare. Offering news tips and Foursquare badges based on where readers are checking in with the [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post