Foursquare businesses are only signing up to get search engine friendly links?

Frankly, I’m not a foursquare user. I just signed up today to see what the process is like and how it works, compared to other sites I’ve joined. When I was reviewing the site and the various pages…I was a bit shocked to see that the “business profile” has some features and benefits I couldn’t get from being a regular ‘newb’ on the site. WTF?

Why does this matter, you say?

Well it explains why a few prominent profiles I found weren’t updated recently (in the last month):

  • NASA (remember the press release and the badge promotion?)
  • MTV
  • Bravo TV
  • Robert Scoble (he’s a brand, believe it or not)
  • Kevin Rose (yep, he of the declining Digg fame…$60 million dollar magazine cover a bad idea now eh?)

Why are all these businesses on foursquare then?

The tech press pointed out their soon to pass 7 million members milestone…wow, that’s an awesome number. But in the grand scheme of things, 70 million members are worthless if those feature brands aren’t actually using the platform they signed up with. I checked twitter and facebook: yep, up to date and current information about the new launch scheduled for today. Foursquare? Nothing to be found, anywhere. It seems that the only reason they signed up in the oh so search engine friendly links in the corner of their profile. No rel=nofollow, no redirects, etc…and most businesses, ironically, are using the foursquare links to point to their twitter and facebook profiles.