Foursquare’s execs must’ve been executing a whirlwind tour of meeting rooms recently: In addition to Bravo, Zagat, and HBO, they’ve just signed up a special content deal with Conde Nast’s Lucky magazine, in perfect time for New York fashion week.
The deal starts being specialized for Fashion Week itself, with Foursquare offering attendees tips on bars, coffee and other services near the show’s venues and events, with the tips being selected by Lucky magazine’s editors.
But just like the other recent Foursquare partnerships, there’s a long-term angle too. This takes the form of a Lucky Shopping Directory, which is a list of about 700 stores maintained inside Foursquare. If you pop in to one of these locations, and check in on Foursquare, you’ll get tips and incentives like discounts or deals and the usual Foursquare badges. There may even be “boutique crawls,” like pub crawls but in better outfits and with less alcohol (perhaps.)
The upside for Lucky is clear–it gets a slew of advertising mindspace, and it’s likely to make itself an attractive co-advertising partner to new members in that coveted list of 700 boutiques. For Foursquare, the benefits are that it’ll get a ton of promotion at the prestigious Fashion Week event, and will likely attract a decent chunk of return users from Lucky‘s subscriber base. It’s the same business model that’ll work for Bravo, HBO, the History Channel, and all the other partners Fousquare probably has lined up waiting in the wings.
And this has us wondering on Foursquare’s future. It seems to be cleverly positioning itself as more than just an advert-driven service, and more of an ad partner-supported “experience” provider, which clearly distinguishes it from other location-based systems like Google’s and even Yelp’s. By associating itself with some mainstream media names at this early point in the game, it’s also clearly building itself some bargaining power–power that’ll let it sign up even bigger-name partners in the future. And with the million check-ins a week barrier recently passed, it’s clear that its user base is extremely active, and definitely growing, which will also be attractive to ad partners.
Here’s the other angle too: If Foursquare keeps this up, it could turn itself into a seemingly friendlier location-based competitor to Google Buzz–whose future frightening ad-loaded, life-managing powers we imagined the other day.