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Hilarious Discovery: Foursquare’s Douchebag Badge

February 8, 2010

If you’re reading this now, you fall into one of three categories. The first: Foursquare addict. You “check in” at various locations several times a day, become Mayor of this place and that place, and unlock all kinds of badges. Sidenote: this piece is probably going to make you mad. The second: You don’t have a clue what Foursquare is and couldn’t care less, but are reading this because the word “douchebag” is in the title and you’d like to find out why. The third – and I fall into this category: You know what Foursquare is. You might’ve even created an account when it was first getting hot. Then you realized what it was.

I don’t like it. There, I said it.

If you haven’t yet, scoot on over to TechCrunch and read MG Seigler’s article, “Does Foursquare Have a Douchebag Problem?” Seigler explains how, after checking in at a bar that had been tagged as trendy, he unlocked the douchebag badge and autotweeted this prestigious honor out to his followers. The badge is a little pink shirt with the collar popped. Cute.

Background: Foursquare is just one in a series of new geo-location games that allow you to tell your friends where you are at any given time using GPS technology on your mobile device. Sounds stupid right? It is. But it’s getting popular nonetheless. Dubbed “the next Twitter” by Mashable’s Pete Cashmore, Foursquare is winning the hearts of tech royalty who are in turn trying to convince us that we should be checking in everywhere we go.

There’s no doubt that Foursquare has an insane amount of business applications, should it really catch on in the mainstream. I understand why marketing pros are elated. Many social-minded companies are already embracing it as a way to track customers and their habits. Tasti D Lite, for instance, lets you connect your Treat Card to your Twitter account so that any time you buy some Tasti D, it auto-tweets from your account that some points were added to your card. And who wouldn’t want the whole world to know they just bought an extra large cone and earned 50 points in one purchase? Hey, free medium next time! The thing is, how exciting are these Foursquare applications if no one but the tech set is using it?

Earlier, I referred to the Mayor badge, or the badge that you get when you’ve checked into a place a certain number of times. Local businesses really benefit from the competitiveness that Foursquare incites in its customers. Popular Foursquare targets get several check-in’s a day, bringing die-hards back again and again to check in. The more you check in, the more likely it is that you will exile the current mayor and take power.

I’ll pass.

Douchebag badge is unlocked by checking in to trendy/popular stores and restaurants, which is why I find its newly-announced partnership with Bravo so bizarre. If Foursquare wants to leverage Bravo’s loyal audience, they’d better take a hard look at what these snarky and offensive badge titles mean to this market. Calling a user a douchebag for checking in at Barney’s isn’t going to go very far with Bravo’s fashion-forward audience. Sounds like I’d unlock the douchebag badge before half a day had gone by.

I’ve done my research. I’ve personally used it…and deleted it. Until someone can explain to me why Foursquare is useful (aside from the obvious ease with which people could potentially stalk me), I’ll steer clear. Feel free to disagree with me.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2010 11:44 am

    I saw your article very good contribution to the presentation and can be responsibility, hopefully you stay ahead presents articles like this
    thanks for the article

  2. February 8, 2010 11:04 pm

    Hi Esther. Thanks for the perspective. While I agree with you about Foursquare harnessing more stalker potential than Twitter, I still partake in the checking in “phenomenon.” As a publicist who works with several local small businesses, I see the value in checking in and helping to promote their existence and whereabouts. I’m pretty much on the fence regarding loving and hating the application, but I do it to help the business out. In order to prevent stalking, I make sure to check in as I’m leaving the business in the hopes that it keeps me be a little safer. 🙂

    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      February 11, 2010 12:41 pm

      It definitely makes sense to check in as you’re leaving. I also agree that, in the business world, potentially, it has a place. For a publicist, what better way to shed light on a new client? As a PR pro, I can appreciate that. I just don’t see the public-at-large adopting such a tool. Do you?

  3. February 10, 2010 1:53 pm

    I personally think Facebook status updating is all I can handle. I really don’t need more junk mail and four square, through tracking my whereabouts, has the propensity to send me targeted ads and unwanted alerts. No Four Square for me. Plus, I certainly don’t want the dishonor of a douchebag title.

    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      February 11, 2010 12:38 pm

      Come on, you wouldn’t wear a douchebag badge proudy? 😉 And I agree. Too too many updates already.

  4. Carmella15m permalink
    February 16, 2010 11:34 pm

    My family actually just used my foursquare account to keep track of our whirlwind vacation in Vegas. What was that restaurant? Which casino was it in? What did I do Friday morning? Now we can look back and reminisce (and remember)! It was also a laugh to see some places (like New York, New York) have no mayor.

    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      March 9, 2010 4:34 pm

      Seriously? That’s pretty funny. And actually, that’s a really cool way to use it. I stand corrected!

  5. mario sanchez permalink
    March 20, 2010 12:29 am

    your a loser!!! foursquare is just dont like it because you probably dont go out and you probably dont have friends to use it with…It’s obviously awesome, why else would mashable claim its “next twitter” coming to fame?? I will tell you why…it’s fun, simple, challenges you to explore your city, and creates a little bit of a competition between you and your friends..and someone can’t randomly stalk you considering you have to accept them as a friend…STOP HATING!! get friends and get this new social app!! its awesome!! no other one out there compares.

    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      May 4, 2010 9:29 am

      you spelled “you’re” wrong.

  6. Billy permalink
    March 31, 2010 6:34 pm

    My girlfriend likes that I use 4square, so she can keep her eye on me. 😉

  7. Bastiaan permalink
    April 23, 2010 9:11 am

    A a matter of fact the first questions people ask eachother while calling on a mobile phone are:
    – How are you?
    – Where are you?
    – What are you doing?

    To be honest, I can avoid these stupid questions by letting my friends know where I am. I’ve set up 4sq in such a way that strangers can’t see where I am, only my friends.
    So for me, 4sq is a good service. It’s new and exhilarating and it’s a good idea in general.

    Optionally you could Tweet where you are and what you are doing as well, but why should you?

    Douchebag: I thing the douchebag badge is more of a joke. Here in the Netherlands we rarely get offended quickly. As this service has a target audience of 15-30 year olds, I don’t really see a problem.
    “Douchebag, Double pop that collar, son!” just underlines the fact that it’s a joke. But if you are indeed offended, there should be an option to remove the badge.

  8. Olly permalink
    May 9, 2010 6:32 pm

    I like this article. I just got FourSquare and I think it’s hilarious. As a cabbie, I’m gonna dominate, but it’s a little too easy to check in at remote locations. Mayors could be deposed… Sayin’.

  9. May 12, 2010 12:54 pm

    Both my husband and I use foursquare. I love it, but I can see why you don’t. If it ever gets to a point where marketers are using it to spam me with offers, I”ll delete my account on it. I also think the Douchebag badge being handed off to people for checking into someplace marked as “trendy” is grossly unfair.

    BTW, I’ve also used it to fake out other users, and even my followers on Twitter. Why I even checked into a restaurant at Bagah Beach in Goa, India…from my humble abode in Sacramento, CA.

    • Mercedes Sherman permalink
      July 21, 2010 6:46 pm

      That’s called foursquare cheating. Hope you get your account deleted 😀

      • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
        October 6, 2010 4:07 pm

        Me too, that would be amazing.

  10. Dorothy permalink
    July 4, 2010 11:32 pm

    The foursquare douchebag badge isn’t calling a foursquare user a douchebag. It lets the user know that there are likely to be douchebags at that venue. Also, it’s not that easy to find.

  11. Mercedes Sherman permalink
    July 21, 2010 6:45 pm

    The douchebag badge is just for fun. It’s funny. My cousin and I have been competing to try to get the badge.

    I think people take GAMES a little too seriously…

  12. Shawn permalink
    July 31, 2010 2:53 am

    Hey. I totally get your stance on the whole foursquare thing, but I think you are taking too much of a conservative approach on it. So what? It says douchebag as a badge. Also, there is a use for foursquare. I have made friends over foursquare and used it to discover new places around my town. Its pretty fun. But back to that badge. I think you are taking it too seriously. I mean the bible talked about sodomy vividly, but it didn’t stop people from making a religion out of that book (no offense anyone). Personally, I think the badge is hilarious and therefore should be taken as a joke, not an insult.

  13. Adam permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:46 pm

    You probably don’t like it cause you’re an actualy douchebag. I have been trying to get that badge and can seem to pull it off. I guess were clear on whos who….

  14. Adam permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:48 pm


    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      November 1, 2010 9:52 am

      I guess we actual are.

  15. September 25, 2010 3:46 pm

    Foursquare is for douchebags

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