Foursquare takes on Yelp with new mobile rating system

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Foursquare released version 5.3.3 of its mobile social networking app for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, adding a new merchant rating system that pits the company head-to-head against local reviews leader Yelp.

Foursquare 5.3.5

Foursquare 5.3.3 touts a new ratings system.

The foursquare ratings system is integrated into the app's Explore recommendation engine, which highlights nearby points of interest based on the user's check-in history and their friends' foursquare activity, complete with consumer reviews and merchant offers. Each site is now assigned a numerical score between 1 and 10: "Instead of other sites where every place gets 3.5 stars, we come up with our scores using the same foursquare magic that powers Explore," the firm explains. "We look at signals like tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide. And, with every check-in and Explore search, our scores will get smarter and better."

Foursquare launched the Explore feature in June 2012 as part of a user experience overhaul de-emphasizing its signature virtual check-ins to focus on personalized recommendations and user interactions. The revised foursquare streamlines the bottom navigation bar from five tabs to three--in addition to Explore, the app features the Friends tab, enabling users to identify their contacts' whereabouts, "like" their check-in status or mention them in a post, as well as the Me tab, which collects the user's foursquare tips, check-in badges and to-do lists, also aggregating their personal contacts and photos.

This summer foursquare also began trialing Promoted Updates, a paid advertising initiative that heralds a major step toward monetizing its platform. Promoted Updates spotlight deals from local merchants via Explore--merchants pay foursquare only when consumers check into their business, unlock a special or otherwise interact with their promotion.

For more:
- read this foursquare blog entry

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