Facebook Deals vs Foursquare – OMG it’s iPhone pochettes at dawn!

The Foursquare vs Facebook Places battle is about to get serious with the European arrival this week of Facebook Deals. This steps hard on Foursquare’s toes – users who check in to bars/stores/venues with Facebook Places are rewarded with discounts and deals. Foursquare pioneered the idea by combining it with a point-scoring game and tips. I use Foursquare for checking in to restaurants where I can quickly consult the tips before choosing between the chicken and the fish. If you check in enough times, you become the ‘mayor’ which could be seen as gimmicky until you consider that the mayor gets special priviledges. At Debenhams Oxford Street for example, the Foursquare mayor gets free coffee whenever they visit (and even if you’re not the mayor, any Foursquare user can get free coffee if they check in on a Friday). Alas, we’re not at the stage yet where the mayor of Harvey Nichols gets a year’s supply of Balenciaga but one lives in hope.

Now that Facebook Deals has arrived, a whole host of stores are getting involved. Not surprisingly, many of the early adopters of Facebook Deals are also seasoned Foursquare users. Debenhams will launch its Facebook Deals programme by offering free Benefit mascara & makeovers on 14th February for the first ten people to check in nationwide (that’s a grand total of 1000 Benefit mascara and makeovers). Meanwhile Benetton has launched with a charity deal, donating 2 euros for each check-in to Architecture for Humanity throughout the month of February. No purchase required, you’re simply rewarded for visiting the store and communicating the fact to your Facebook network.

The question is, will these brands ditch Foursquare altogether for Facebook Deals? Benetton’s Head of Digital, Gabriele Lunati says,”Facebook Deals is a great way for Benetton to connect with the consumer who is actively shopping on the high street and will be used alongside the popular Foursquare.” I really hope Foursquare can hold its own against the mighty Facebook but let’s see where things are in 6 months time.