Valid Foursquare Venues

Foursquare logoI’m a huge fan of Foursquare. I use it everyday. For a while now, I’ve also been a “super user,” meaning I can make edits and suggestions to the Foursquare database. With the help of 4sweep, I’ve been busy tracking down invalid and/or inappropriate venues. There are so many “bad” venues out there, I thought I’d share some thoughts on what makes a valid Foursquare venue.

Foursquare defines a “good” venue as, “Real places. Places people can meet up. Places that already have a Foursquare category. Places where people like to check in.” That’s a pretty good description, and if people lived by those rules, we’d be fine. The problem is new venues are popping up every day that don’t fit that mold.

The biggest offender I see is venues that are actually actions. “Watching The Big Bang Theory” or “Running a mile” are not valid venues. You can’t meet up at “running a mile.” Those are shouts and you can add them as you check-in to a valid venue. For example, check-in to a park and shout “out for a mile run” or check into your buddy’s house and shout “watching Big Bang Theory with Todd.”

The next one is mis-categorized homes. I know you like to think “Sally’s Pink Palace” is a castle, but we all know it’s just your apartment. The same goes for your home brewery operation. If it’s your home, just make it a home. It’s more beneficial to you too, because it will be more private and you won’t end up with a random person showing up at your door, demanding a can of PBR from your dive bar.

I can’t tell you how many car venues I’ve cleaned up. Cars are not venues. They just aren’t, so please stop creating them.

Getting too specific is also a large problem. You can check into “Dunkin’ Donuts,” but you shouldn’t be checking into “booth #4” or any bathroom, anywhere, ever. Let’s keep it simple and uncluttered. Your Xbox is not an arcade. Your big screen TV is not a theatre. No seats, no toilets and no desks. Please and thank you.

Vague check-ins like “Work,” “Planet Earth” or “The Store” don’t work either. Foursquare venues are there for more than just your personal fun. Foursquare has created a huge database that can actually help people explore their surroundings. It becomes less helpful when you create a burger joint called “Work all day long.” These are the kinds of things you can shout in your check-in to a real venue like “McDonalds” or “BigCorp Headquarters.”

Those are just a small sampling of some of the bad venues I’ve been coming across. I hope it was helpful to learn a few dos and don’ts for Foursquare venue creation. What’s the craziest venue you’ve come across in Foursquare?

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