For this, the second installment of the Clone Spotting series, we take a look at location-based service Foursquare and its Korean offspring, I’m In, from KTH.
Foursquare — March 2009
I’m In — Mid-2010
NO. OF USERS:
Foursquare — 8 million
I’m In — 900,000
발도장 (baldojang, “foot stamp”): same as Foursquare’s “check-ins”
Columbus, Master: I’m In’s answers to Foursquare’s mayorships
More broadly, the general ideas behind I’m In are pretty much identical to those of Foursquare, with users able to take advantage of promotional offers through visits to participating businesses, and gain special privileges by becoming a “Columbus.”
As with many other “clones,” I’m In’s key differences are in details rather than truly new features. The Columbus status, for instance, is only granted to the first “mayor” of a place (because you’re the pioneer, geddit?), and is retained by that person as long as the place exists. Subsequent “mayors” can only ever be “masters.”
In addition, I’m In claims to place more emphasis on the “social” side, rather than the “game” element Foursquare has. This means a livelier comments section, with more people apparently responding to comments left at each location (though Foursquare’s iPhone and Android apps now get a lot of comments too). Also, where Foursquare shows you the check-in information of your friends only, I’m In provides it for anyone in your vicinity, whether he is a “friend” or not.
“The primary goal for I’m In users is to get to know new people and to let other people know where they are. Through this, they will naturally receive other benefits, too,” Chun Sunghoon, leader of KTH’s social network team.
“We want Foursquare to be a lot about encouraging adventure. Our vision is to see what happens if you treat your phone like a passport, when you can keep records of where you’ve visited and inspire others to go out and travel. It should be a reason to go places and do things that you might not always,” Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare.
I’m In is undeniably a clone, but makes no real pretense at being otherwise. What’s more, by offering its service in Korean (which Foursquare still doesn’t) it provides real value to Korean social media fans — not least, unlike Foursquare, because it already offers a range of deals with businesses in Korea.