‘I’m a Foursquare Cheater'

4 minute read

I’m coming clean, I’m a Foursquare cheater.

And why not? I personally think it’s funny that right now as of this posting I’m the mayor of places like the Taj Mahal, the Pyrmaids and the PlayBoy Mansion. Even thought I’ve never physically been to any of these places. TO be honest, cheating has become more and more fun. I was inspired by a guy called Dr. Cheat who also blogged about it and become the mayor of dozens of places. The problem with Foursquare.com and services like such as Gowalla.com is that there are holes in the validation system. And I found the biggest one of them all. The mobile website. I first learned about this from TechCrunch here: http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/16/foursquare-cheating/ But you don’t need an API to check in to any place on planet earth, you can do it from your computer, so long as you use some logic.

http://foursquare.com/mobile/venue/485303 < Just use the mobile website.

Now according to TechCrunch I’m pathetic because I’m cheating, but really I just want to say that I personally think there are two problems with the system. One is how easy it is for me to check in everywhere, and the second one is all the people who keep putting their homes on foursquare. We’ve all heard the stories about people who’ve been attacked on myspace, facebook, and other services. Is it a wise idea to put your home on foursqaure?  Maybe you should check out http://pleaserobme.com/ a site setup to show when people aren’t in their homes.

So I have an idea.

Here’s my idea for a solution to this problem. It might not be a great one, or even a good one. But I think zip code based GPS checks for within the US might work with some sort of logic behind it. While I don’t know how to limit check in’s around the rest of the world, why not first force users to use GPS, and second since it can be hard to get a GPS location of your exact position, whats wrong with the general area? Foursquare should be able to figure out there is no way for me to be in Virginia one hour and then 20 minutes later be checking in at SXSW.

So if I check into 23462 which is where I live, I shouldn’t be able to check into Austin Texas at SXSW an hour later. Logic should tell the system that’s not possible. Just my thoughts.

Either way, until a solution is found, I’ll keep checking into the Pyramids until it becomes boring or one of you cleaver folks steals it from me.

Oh, and people who list their homes on foursqaure in my area, I’m checking into your house too! Me being the Mayor of your house should creep you out enough to know better than to put your house on foursquare.

Am I going to stop?

Well maybe… Anyone who knows me knows that I love to travel and explore. It’s part of my heart. And it’s one of the reasons I like the service. For one it let’s me share what I’m doing with friends, and two the things to do and tips can be very useful. I’ve used the service to hunt out some good restaurants locally that I never knew of. And I’m really waiting for the day when the concept of geocaching and foursquare merge. How about finding real prizes besides just badges. A friend of mine went around finding the Red Bull stashes that where hidden in our area recently as part of an advertising campaign. And that plus foursquare got me thinking about how companies could use the service with geocache prizes. If you find and claim it, you check in and receive the one off badge for that location. Plus you got the prize. Anyone else see where this could go?

Normally I don’t blog tech. However I decided recently to start blogging on the things I love, tech, cars, business and lifestyle design.


**I’ve decided to stop cheating for now. **I don’t think it’s up to me to expose something that is clearly a problem. But it is a fun problem none the less. It’s a great way to drive your friends nuts. But like I said above, foursquare is selling it’s services to businesses who might offer specials to people who become mayor. It’s so easy to cheat right now that I can only see that as turning out badly for business.

Since I posted this blog, one person has become very upset with me. Sorry!

More Sources:

http://twitter.com/#search?q=foursquare%20cheating «** Check out how many people are tweeting about foursquare cheating, it’s a lot.**