Foursquare Sucks

It’s a big call, I know. Millions of people use foursquare daily and I have the hide to dis it. Well I am. I’m dissin’ it. And I’m serious, because I’m saying “dissin'”. Foursquare has gained popularity as a tool to track your friends movements and… I don’t know what else. But people love it nonetheless and I don’t know why.

If I’m lashing out and saying Foursquare sucks, I probably should give some substance to my controversial claim by providing some hard reasons for not liking it. First of all, though, I will say that I do use the app. All the time. And I don’t even know why.

Without further ado, the top reasons for hating Foursquare:

Woeful Design

I really hate the design of Foursquare. It reminds of an IBM computer circa 1988. Or maybe even a microbee circa 1986. It looks really out of place on a device such as an iphone which prides itself on fantastic aesthetics. That blue and white interface with hard lines, flat lists and endless blandness… it’s awful! Oh and don’t get me started on squares. The app is full of squares and rectangles! I like pictures. Colours. Rounded edges. Get some of that in the app and it will start to look more interesting and feel better to use. As it stands, whenever I open the app I feel irritated by it’s boringness. Note: Shaving off the edge of a corner does not give the app the rounded edges I desire. It just looks like a sharp corner was chopped off.


Duplicates are rare on Foursquare. Why? Because many spots are in triplicate, quadruplicate, quintiplicate, hexatiplicate and dodecatipilacte. In other words, the database is an absolute mess making it really demoralising when you find that the spot you’ve been checking into for months is actually not the one most people have been using. They’ve been checking into the one 100m away. Another problem with all these multiple spots is that it’s sometimes difficult to know which one to checkin to. Really destroys the experience for me.

Too Many Inane Spots

There are so many inane spots on Foursquare that crowd out the real spots. Like “my bedroom”. Or all the gates that are located within an airport. Checking into gate 48a within an airport isn’t really relevant in a location-based app. Terminal maybe. Airport yes. Gate number no.

Badges Suck

The badges in Foursquare really are awful. Firstly, the implementation seems to be a half-hearted attempt and adding a game feature to the app. But it’s half-baked. Many of the badges are for things that don’t mean anything (checking into 3 locations that have photobooths in them???), they very rarely scale based on how heavy a user you are (what about a badge for checking into 100 locations that have photobooths in them?) and they are ugly. Really ugly. I don’t want those badges. They’re embarrassing.

Spot Popularity Indeterminable

It’s really difficult to tell if a spot you’ve never been to before is popular or not. This might seem irrelevant, but on my recent trip around Oz, I often used Gowalla to look at spots around me to see if lots of people were going to them. There appeared to be a direct correlation between frequently checked into spots and the location’s awesomeness. On Foursquare, you have this flat list of messed up spots and duplicates that gives no hints about what nearby is cool. Even the new “explore” feature doesn’t work.


The tips feature is busted. Rarely is it used to give tips. It’s turning into a way for users to spam and add “humurous” comments. They’re rarely of any use. This feature needs to be deleted and replaced with a rating feature. Thumb up or down if you like the spot. Add a comment and it can be thumbed up or down. Simple.

They’re my main bugbears. The design aspect is the thing that keeps me away from it most of the time. As Gowalla improves its foursquare checkin procedure, I’m going to start trying to make all my foursquare checkins through Gowalla. Then I don’t have to use foursquare at all! This begs the question, though, why don’t I just delete the app altogether? Well, I’ve been asking this question myself and I think it’s related to my 1) hope that they’ll fix it, 2) fear of missing out on something.

If you use foursquare, give Gowalla a try for a few days and let me know how you go. Better or worse? Agree that Foursquare is a bag of crap?

9 replies on “Foursquare Sucks”

I totally agree on the duplicates, those have to go, especially those with misspellings, etc. I actually only have mobile web, so I don’t use the App obviously, but I love the Inane Spots personally, it allows for inside jokes and funny stuff between friends. Just my two cents.

Yeah, the duplicates really get me. Glad you can have a laugh about the joke spots etc. 🙂

I agree that there are things on foursquare that are arcaic looking on the iPhone etc. I do like the shouts and comments that friends/followers make.
There are the rediculous places.. But I think it just adds a bit of humor to all.

As a business owner I think foursquare helps in getting the name out.

I have tried the other but most of my friends are not using it. But it looked nice

Yeah, I don’t really use the shouts feature, but do occasionally comment on other people’s checkins etc.

I do agree about foursquare and gowalla being good for businesses!

I’ve never tried foursquare – it just seems to creepy to me to be letting everyone know where I am every minute of the day. Interesting to read about its other flaws…

I can understand the “creepy” factor with these types of apps. People can definitely track your movements and see what you’re up to. At this point in time, I don’t really care about that, but I’m unlikely to get a stalker on me. 🙂

It’s behavior on Twitter and Facebook is also quite annoying to all your followers/friends who don’t really care where you check in. That’s why I had to write a browser add-on (h8sq) to filter the cruft.

This foursquare
came automaticly when I upgraded my xperia x10. I didn’t ask for it. It is like a virus it pops up by itself during a phone call, while playing a game and while on YouTube. It will stop your video and the sign in will popup and restart your video. This app sucks and will not delete.

Couldn’t agree more, I’m not as familiar with it as others but I have tried it out and found the whole experience to be dismal and unimaginative. It’s not even that thorough in gathering information about places. I was really unimpressed with their data base in general. The biggest thing though is the design, which is not only terrible looking but clunky and confusing. There’s quite frankly much better apps out there, that may be less popular but offers better information and a more enjoyable experience.

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