See the full article for a snapshot of Foursquare and other “checking in” services
This model, which may be more attractive than tracking because it gives people more choice in revealing their locations, is gathering speed in the Internet industry. Yelp, the popular site that compiles reviews of restaurants and other businesses, recently added a check-in feature to its cellphone application. And Facebook is expected to take a similar approach when it introduces location features to its 400 million users in coming months.
If checking in goes mainstream, it could give a lift to mobile advertising, which is now just a tiny percentage of overall spending on online ads. If a company was able to pitch offers to people who say they are at a particular spot, it would “allow for the sharpening of mobile advertising,” said Anne Lapkin, an analyst at the research firm Gartner.