Starbucks Conquered the Corner Coffee Shop, Now They Want Your Phone

Foursquare, one of the most popular location based social networks services, has always had companies offer special deals to “mayors” of specific locations. Now the service is offering it’s first-ever nationwide mayoral discount thanks to Starbucks. {Mashable}

At left, Brightkite Starbucks badges, at right, a Starbucks Mayor Offer on Foursquare

For those who don’t know Foursquare, it is a social network based around your location.  Using the Foursquare app on your smartphone of choice (native apps available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm WebOS phones) you “check-in” to locations, and can see other people who have visited and what they say about it.  By checking in more than anyone else, you become the mayor of a location.

Mayors have typically been given special advantages, being able to cut in line, a free drink or two, and other discounts to name a few.  Now, Starbucks is offering discounts to any mayor of a specific Starbucks.  The deal is $1 and “NEW however-you-want-it Frappuccino blanded beverage.”  The deal is good until June 28.  It may not seem like much, but Starbucks isn’t exactly known for frequent discounts.

If your allegiance is with Starbucks and not a particular network, Foursquare competitor Brightkite was actually first to partner with the coffee mega-chain on Frappucino focused badges, though initially there were no special discounts. {TechCrunch} If one Frappucino isn’t enough, check in with both services though, and in the future you could find yourself with double discounts. Brightkite wouldn’t get into specifics, but hinted that there was more to come beyond the profile decoration. {Brightkite blog}

It seems that Starbucks is really going all in with location/mobile focused social networks.  It will probably be a few months before results of the programs are announced, but it serves as great publicity for both Starbucks and the networks.  As the networks start battling it out to be the mobile check-in app of choice there’s bound to be some overlap, but it will be interesting to see how they differentiate themselves going forward.

Foursquare screenshot via {Mashable}






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