Beware Foursquare – FIXED
Please pass this along to anyone you know that owns a business, it is extremely important for their marketing department to understand the recent changes to FourSquare!
Let me start by saying that we at Camera Corner / Connecting Point aren’t in the business of advising companies on their social marketing strategies, so I do apologise for writing what many will consider to be an off-topic post. When I learned about these changes earlier today, I was rather upset, and when I tried to search online for others having this issue, I couldn’t come up with anything.
FourSquare, a popular social networking site for “checking in” to your favorite locations, no longer allows the owners and managers of listed businesses on their site to control the hours of operation listed on their page. Instead, FourSquare has decided to “auto detect” the hours we are open based on the dates and times that customers have “checked in” in the past, and changed the display on the site to “hours people check in”.
This has led FourSquare to list our hours as:
Monday — 6:00 AM–4:00 PM
Tuesday — 7:00 AM–3:00 PM
Wednesday — 24 Hours
Thursday — 6:00 AM–5:00 PM
Friday — 5:00 AM–4:00 PM & 9:00 PM–10:00 PM
Saturday — 5:00 AM–3:00 PM & 5:00 PM–6:00 PM
Sunday — 10:00 AM–11:00 AM
Our ACTUAL hours are:
Monday – Friday –7:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday — 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday — CLOSED
I found this rather upsetting. Not only are the hours they list inconsistent, hard to read, and inaccurate, but they are claiming that we are closed 12.5 hours per week that we are typically open. Even worse, 17.5 hours that they claim we’re open for business, we are not.
We apologize for the confusion, and have contacted FourSquare to correct the poorly listed hours:
Nicholas Wautier, May 02 14:43 (EDT): My popular hours include several times that we aren’t even open. I have our open hours listed. is there some way I can override the popular hours from displaying?
Greg Test, May 02 17:19 (EDT):
Thank you so much for your interest in Foursquare! I appreciate you taking the time to notify us of this issue, however due to a recent redesign, businesses will no longer be able to label particular sets of open hours. Our hope is that this will clarify the hours that your business is open for operation for your customers.
All the best,
Clarify? How does this clarify anything? Feels like a form letter to me, or should I be listing every one of our business days as an event?
Here’s my response back to Greg:
Nicholas Wautier, May 02 17:42 (EDT): Thank you for your prompt response, however I seriously disagree with this change in policy. This will encourage login cheating and lead to many dissatisfied customers.
There is no legitimate reason to ‘crowdsource’ my hours of operation. Why would I want people to think my business is open 24 hours when it never is.
Without this returning functionality, why would I bother claiming my listing or consider advertising on the 4sq network? I don’t want to pay to drive traffic to a locked door.
If I cannot have my proper hours of operation listed on foursquare accurately, I would rather not be listed on foursquare at all.
I will also reach out to my other friends in business to inform them of this change. I don’t expect any of them to feel differently than I do.
Thank You again,
I don’t feel that anything I said was inaccurate or unreasonable. I know that they own the servers, and offer the service at no charge to the marketers or consumers, but in my book, this is some pretty basic functionality they’re ignoring. When a potential shopper rolls up at 9:00 PM on a Friday, they aren’t going to be happy when they find out we’re not there, and we’re going to potentially loose that person as a customer.
Now, FourSquare could make the argument that in the long-term, check-in times will normalize and they will get a more accurate window, but I beg to differ. Our building is a common place for amateur photographers to practice their night photography skills. They have “checked-in” to tag our business in their photos posted to the web. We also have staff that occasionally work odd hours for maintenance and deliveries. While I don’t encourage our employees to “check-in” to work, we’ve had some that do, telling their friends and family that they’re at work at an odd hour. Both of these situations will continue to happen, and will continue to skew the hours that FourSquare “thinks” we’re open.
I would love for FourSquare to respond, addressing my concerns. While it’s not the type of material we plan to bring you in this venue, we will keep you updated on any new developments.
The bottom line for consumers, PLEASE do not trust Foursquare’s listed hours of operation for ANY business. Marketers, please think twice about the time and resources you dedicate to promoting your businesses on this platform. There are, without question, many alternatives out there.
Please post your thoughts and comments below. Do you know a workaround? What site do you prefer to use for check-in tracking?
UPDATE: Just as Chris had postulated in the comments section, there was a miscommunication. Apparently what I’m experiencing is the result of a technical issue that Foursquare is currently working on.
Greg Test, May 03 10:45 (EDT):
Thanks for your response. I believe I was misunderstanding you before, I was under the impression that you wanted to include particular hours within your normal hours (for example, “Happy Hour”).
This is actually a known issue and we’re working on a fix now. Thanks for reaching out to us and reporting it.
Sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.
All the best,
I’ll check on it in a few days and let everyone know when it’s fixed!
5-9-13 – I just checked our page on FourSquare and everything appears to be fixed!