Foursquare and Pepsi Make Location Based Social Networking Real

It started about a month ago when the popular location-based social network foursquare posted that they were looking for sponsors for a charity event in NYC. Foursquare awards it’s users points for doing things in the real world like discovering new places, completing interesting tasks, and meeting new friends. This is also how you unlock badges. As points are accumulated, users can watch their progress on the foursquare leaderboard and compete city-to-city.

We’ve talked before about using foursquare for business. Foursquare tracks who frequents your business, how often, and what they do there. As a business owner, you can use this information to provide real world incentives to keep them coming back. A free beer for whoever is crowned foursquare mayor of your establishment, for instance.

It seems that the guys at foursquare saw the potential to leverage this relationship and give back to the community. By offering a few cents for each point added to the leaderboard, they could donate a pretty hefty amount of money to charity. The only thing needed was a sponsor. Thanks to Techies Give Back, foursquare was able to hook up with Pepsi to make this event a reality.

This week (starting last night, thru Sunday Dec 13 @ 11:59p), every point added to the foursquare leaderboard will be lead to Pepsi donating $0.04 to CampInteractive, an organization that helps empower inner-city youth through technology skills and mentoring.

In exchange for their generous contribution, the foursquare leaderboard will have a Pepsi skin for the duration of this charity event. Because you never know what can happen on foursquare, the cap is set at $10,000.

This is an excellent example of how social media can actual bring about social change. It’s actually a win for everyone involved:

§ Pepsi gets some positive publicity

§ foursquare gets positive publicity and potential increase in user interaction

§ users enjoy competing and probably a few extra nights out to rack up extra points (to further the cause, of course)

§ and CampInteractive gets $10,000

I love to see services that think outside the box. Another good example of this type of thinking is the United Against Malaria room on 12seconds, where users promote the cause by creating a quick video and pledging a donation.

What do you think about this foursquare charity event? Do you know of any other services doing something similar?

by rahsheen