Businesses that rely on Foursquare’s location data may be receiving a bill soon, as the geolocation company announced Thursday that it would begin issuing fees on access to the information it has gathered from check-ins over the last five years. Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Glueck told the Wall Street Journal that it is currently negotiating with its heaviest users to begin billing.
While Glueck said that the fee system would affect less than 1 percent of the 65,000 companies that are hooked up to Foursquare’s geolocation data, the move is still a significant one for the company. The company has already dabbled in turning its data into a revenue-building product, most significantly in Microsoft’s “strategic investment” of $15 million in exchange for a licensing partnership with deep access to Foursquare’s API.
Interestingly, it’s likely that the companies affected by Foursquare’s new feed system are also social media companies. Currently, Twitter uses Foursquare’s location data to power services for Vine, and Yahoo allows users to geotag photos through Foursquare’s check-in database. Foursquare did not disclose which companies are going to be charged, but Gleuck said that deals will be reached on an ad-hoc basis.
Foursquare’s decision to capitalize on its data comes at an interesting time for the company’s product, as it is currently in the process of splitting into two apps — the check-in focused Swarm and the recommendation-focused Foursquare. While its platform is undergoing big changes, Foursquare will benefit creating a steady stream of revenue from the rich location data it has acquired over the years.