Mayor of Revenue

Foursquare Makes a Bid for Revenue With Promoted Updates: ‘Search Ads for the Real World’

Maybe it only *sounds* creepy.
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(Photo: Foursquare)

When they’re not building goofy Tumblrs peppered with insidery engineering jokes, the folks at Foursquare are apparently hard at work assembling their first big cash-cow feature. It’s called promoted updates and it could be a real moneymaker for the local check-in app.

Promoted updates are very similar to local updates, a feature the company released last week, which allow businesses to easily update customers on specials and news. Now, businesses can pay for promoted updates to be displayed to a user based on their Explore tab history and location.

The press release describes promoted updates as “search ads for the real world,” which is only slightly creepy. Then again, people who are concerned about keeping their location to themselves probably aren’t using Foursquare.

“If you search for ‘laptops’ online, you might see an ad for an electronics website next to the results,” reads the release. “In foursquare, if you do the same search in Explore, you might see a promoted special about a weekend deal at a nearby computer store.”

Promoted updates are currently only available to a select number of merchants, but the company promises to role them out to all vendors in the next few months. “We’re on our way to helping them solve some of their biggest problems by delivering the right messages to the people who are most likely to love a business when they’re nearby,” said Steven Rosenblatt, Foursquare’s chief revenue officer, in a statement.

Meanwhile, if you need us, we’ll be trying to decipher the mystical code of #whatshould4sqcallme.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com