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Reporters' Roundtable: Checking in with Facebook and Foursquare

VCs are funneling funds into Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, and other apps that let users check-in and then broadcast their locations. We find out why on this week's show, featuring Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times and Adrianne Jeffries of ReadWriteWeb.

The new hotness in tech investing today is the location check-in app. From social services like Foursquare and Gowalla to shopping-focused business like Shopkick, investors love check-in. And why not? They're making money already, even though but a tiny fraction of the population has ever used a check-in app.

But there are issues: Privacy. Crime. And: Why have Google and Twitter not been successful in this market?

Our experts today are two writers covering this space. First, Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times, who wrote, "Technology Aside, Most People Still Decline to Be Located." We also have Adrianne Jeffries of ReadWriteWeb, who covered the launch of Facebook Places.

Now playing: Watch this: Reporters' Roundtable Ep. 45: Checking in with Facebook...


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Show notes and talking points

What do people get from checking in?

What's in it for users, really?

Who are the players and how do they make money?

Discuss Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Brightkite, and of course Facebook Places.

Discuss Shopkick, the most brazenly commercial location check-in app. Game mechanics: How levels, badges, and achievements suck users in.

What's so important about being Mayor?

Do fake check-ins matter?

Privacy issues.

Facebook: How big a threat to the start-ups?

Where's Twitter? Google (What happened to Dodgeball)?

Discuss other forms of check-in like financial (Blippy) and music (Ping).

What's next?

Watch my Twitter account (@Rafe) for updates on the topic. Of, if you have an idea for a show, e-mail it to me.

Get all the show notes as well as replays and downloads of the podcast on the blog.