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With Redbox deal, Foursquare goes beyond bar hoppers

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Forget about going out to the bar; for 10 days starting next week, the folks at Foursquare want you to stay in and watch a DVD instead. Hopefully, that DVD will be rented from Redbox, which just partnered with the location-based service to provide discounts to users who check in at its kiosk locations around the country.

As part of its “10 Days of Deals” promotion, Redbox users will be able to unlock daily discount codes by checking-in at kiosk locations on Foursquare mobile apps. Those discounts, which will range from 10 cents to $1.00, can then be used on Redbox kiosks that day.

The deal seems to go against Foursquare’s whole raison d’être — which is all about getting users out and about. Perhaps more importantly, it goes against the terms of Foursquare’s Specials Program, which until now has been mostly limited to places where people actually hang out — cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and the like. Some venue owners have complained that Foursquare has taken down specials because they weren’t at “places where people meet, socialize and linger.” And when was the last time you lingered or socialized at a Redbox kiosk?

For Redbox, the promotion is a simple way to boost rentals during the slow summer month of August. But for Foursquare, it’s a way to increase installs and usage, particularly in regions where there’s not as much to do or with users who don’t often go out. Prompting people to stay in and watch a DVD might run counter to its business to date, but the Redbox deal allows Foursquare to capture users who don’t already overshare and introduce them to its service.

Those new users will become increasingly valuable, particularly as Foursquare focuses not just on letting users share where they are now, but to suggest where they should be going. While not everyone will see the utility of sharing their location, the addition of its Explore tab gives users a way to discover new places they may not have already been to.