Foursquare to Start Charging Merchants

Develops new features in a bid for profitability

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Foursquare has a big revenue problem: the social check-in site boasts more than 10 million users and a $600 million valuation, but so far, it hasn’t managed to actually make money. Now, Foursquare is planning to close that gap by charging its 500,000-plus registered merchants to use the site’s services, which are currently free, reports the New York Post.

Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai told the Post that the company is using its recent $50 million investment to build a “dynamic platform” for businesses and users. New features being developed by the site and third-party developers include an app that locates users on a map or gives reminders of where they were a year ago.

“The [merchant] tools allow you to claim your venue and start running specials and see the dashboard,” Foursquare's media liaison Erin Gleason told the Post. “That's all free right now, but it's obviously very valuable data. So in the future when it's a little more robust, we see the potential to monetize that.”

Selvadurai didn’t say when the site would start charging merchants to register. “Our core focus is building our user base and building as many businesses on board,” he said.

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.