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Foursquare vs. Gowalla… annnnnd fight!

gowalla-va-foursquare[1] So I’ve been doing my research trying to figure out which of the two location-based metagaming services are going to come out on top.  There are two that have risen to the top of the pack: Foursquare, my first choice, or Gowalla, the Austin based startup.  Both platforms bring their own set of features to the table, and each has their pros and cons, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Foursquare

  • it’s competitive – you score points and get on a leaderboard
  • the prizes are harder to obtain – they don’t tell you up front exactly how to win badges, so unless you visit wikipedia you have to earn them blindly
  • strictly business – not a lot of bells and whistles
  • precise – you have to have an exact address to add a new location
  • Mayorship – only one mayor per place.

Gowalla

  • more dressed up – I like the interface of Gowalla better than Foursquare
  • easier to obtain badges – you get stamps, stickers, items, etc for doing just about anything
  • I like the item aspect – it’s cool to see who has had items, dropped them, and then claimed them and dropped them again before you came along – a sisterhood of the travelling pants sort of thing (I mean come on, how awesome is it to pick up Tacos at Swanky’s Taco Shop [purely by coincidence])
  • WP-Walla (the WordPress plugin) functions nice – the WordPress foursquare plugin does not.
  • Foundership – you can leave an item for free for someone to become a founder and claim that place as your own.  But then again, so can other people.

So far, I think Gowalla is winning the location-based gaming war, but I’m going to give it a fair shot (1 week) to see.  What do you guys think?  Do you have any special reasons for choosing one over the other?