5StarControl has issued an announcement about a new change to the Foursquare homepage which adds a local search feature to the service, placing it into direct competition with local search and review site Yelp.

Local Business Review Site 5StarControl stated that local businesses will blossom due to Foursquare’s new search box and results, which, according to Search Engine Land, will provide better results based on real-world data than those from competitor Yelp.

Foursquare is the successor to Dodgeball, a check-in game and friend locater service which was purchased by Google in 2005. Founder and CEO Dennis Crowley then began Foursquare in 2009. Foursquare is estimated to currently have around 20 million global users on its website and through its mobile applications. People on Foursquare can “check-in” when they visit a local business or location, telling their friends that they are they. They can also post pictures of the establishment, as well as add recommendations to the page for that business. Local businesses also use Foursquare as a method of local business online marketing, as they can publish specific deals on Foursquare for users who check-in to their business.

Foursquare’s new search feature is a direct challenge to the supremacy of Yelp in the local search and review sector. Founded in 2004, Yelp has grown to host more than 78 million unique visitors every month. Yelp is a website and mobile app where people can search for businesses in their area and see results based on reviews written by other users. Anyone can write reviews and rate local businesses, which has led to criticism that Yelp reviews are not completely reliable.

Search Engine Land is a news site focusing on issues surrounding search engines and internet searching. It is published by Third Door Media, and ran by journalist Danny Sullivan, who has eleven years of experience as a reporter on internet issues. Search Engine Land, in addition to its news and analysis website, also hosts the SMX Search Marketing Series of conferences which focus on SEO and marketing opportunities for businesses in the realm of internet searching.

According to the Search Engine Land article, the new search results on Foursquare will assign a number to each business based on reviews, searches, check-ins, and other information. This information will allow the results to be more accurate than those offered on Yelp. If so, this will enhance Foursquare’s place as a home for local businesses to market themselves online. Maintaining a strong online reputation through Foursquare will also become far more important for local businesses. For more on online reputation management, 5StarControl recommends the materials of Frank Kern.


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