SXSW10: The Big Showdown – GoWalla vs. Foursquare
March 29, 2010
Well, now that SXSW 2010 is over and everyone has begun shoring up “their own conference overviews”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/09/location-is-the-new-just-kill-yourself/, It’s about time I finish off the last two posts on the conference.
So with out further adieu, here’s my take on the “other big topic at this year’s festival”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/sxsw10-the-big-trend-is-web-typography. Yes, friends without question the big showdown of *SXSW 2010* was between geo-locational social network superpowers “GoWalla & Foursquare”:http://twitpic.com/18fgd6.
The big guns were definitely brought out to play, as each of the two superpowers fought for the affection of the influential _first adopter_ crowd. In laymen terms, *they were coveting the nerds*.
The idea being that, if you win the Nerds (First Adopters), they’ll return to their home town and influence others to join the network. Now to preface it, both foursquare and gowalla were predominant at the ’09 version of the festival, but this was the big year. iPhones and Smartphones were are as common as underwear at SXSW and pretty much everyone at the conference was already using one of two power house apps. But the key for these two start-ups was to convert the nerds to their own service. To come out one top and _create the next Twitter Effect_.
So after all the final software updates, redesigns, secret badges and super, super duper checks-in were completed, who won?
The Big Winner Is…
Well, this may come as a shock, but I would have to venture that Austin based “GoWalla”:http://gowalla.com/blog/2010/03/sxsw-2010-redux/ was the slight winner. Which for those following the Geo-Locational Network apps battle (or “even this web site”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/foursquare-starts-to-make-waves-in-calgary) will see as a bit of shock.
“Foursquare”:http://www.foursquare.com has been the _it company_ for this new section of the Social Media spectrum for over a year, with “predominant deals with national and local media outlets”:http://foursquare.com/metronews and a buzz that’s rivaled Twitter. But, with an ill-timed redesign roll-out and some glaring downtime issues, Foursquare seemed to miss a golden opportunity to squash the competition. Rather than blowing the socks off of the crowd, it left with a small whimper of excitement. Instead, smaller “GoWalla”:http://www.gowalla.com was able to keep rolling with a crisper interface design (“just look at those gorgeous icons”:http://gowalla.com/spots) and leverage the _cool small guy_ vibe to win over a majority of the _nerds_. By the end of the five days, most dedicated Social Media Enthusiasts and Insiders were gravitating towards GoWalla and away from Foursquare.
What this means for the future of Geo-Locational Networks is something that will play out shortly, but for the future if you are looking to expand your business into the Foursquare network, it would be best to keep one eye on GoWalla as you start to build your strategy. (Don’t worry, they are both fairly interchangeable) Foursquare will still maintain it’s buzz and significant edge on users, but GoWalla made a solid impression.
The question for the future will be, was it enough to sway a majority of the _First Adopters_ and their friends to make the switch.