What ever happened to Foursquare? Back in 2009, Business Insider reports, the check-in app was ‘the most exciting social network since Facebook, and one of the first devoted entirely to the mobile platform.

That was then. This is now.

Foursquare is in rough shape. Pinterest is growing like crazy, as is Instagram, which just fetched $1 bn from Facebook: it has 13 employees and hasn’t even been around for two years yet. If you’re Dennis Crowley & Co, you have to be pretty frustrated right now.

I get it: they are just going through what we went through.

For a long time, I was a frustrated Foursquare user. The application never seemed ready for prime time (not even as a public beta). It was slow to respond, inaccurate and generally a pain to use. I gave up on it over a year ago, when the new features released offered photo uploads and other social interaction … rather than the stabilization of the core technology (which desperately needed it). Meanwhile, Foursquare was able to post growth without me, thanks to the momentum that comes from growing a social media company in a post-Facebook and Twitter world.

The good times, however, appear to have come to an end. (I love Business Insider’s headline on this: ‘Foursquare may not be toast yet, but it’s browning at the edges’.) The company’s valuation is pegged at $600 mn, thanks to a $50 mn venture capital round last June. And, it has done little since then to justify it.

On the mobile front, Business Insider notes, there is stiff competition in the apps-only social networking space, with both Instagram and Path in play. And, photo sharing has unseated check-ins as the flavor du jour – Pinterest’s turf.

Foursquare now has 15 mn registered users, less than half Instagram’s user base (35 mn). Pinterest is probably up around Foursquare’s level by now, despite having only launched in 2010.

The once-hot social media platform is now in rough shape. It will clearly need to make a bold move in 2012 in order to stay relevant. Check back this week for a new story every day about Foursquare and its future.

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Source: Business Insider

Photo: teamstickergiant via Flickr

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