Location-based mobile app Foursquare is adding a proprietary rating system in an effort to compete with popular rating sites such as Yelp.  Businesses will be given scores on a 10-point scale, and the scores can be viewed by Foursquare users as a tool to compare potential destinations.  Scores will appear when users search for locations using the Foursquare app, as well as on Foursquare’s website.

Foursquare’s 10-point rating system is designed to give users a more nuanced picture of consumer feedback on individual businesses than Yelp’s 5-point scale.  Rather than a simple average of consumer ratings, Foursquare’s system takes into account user likes, dislikes, check-ins, and other metrics to determine an overall score.  The system aims to make ratings of local businesses more useful and more protected from manipulation.

Foursquare has made no attempt to disguise its desire to unseat Yelp as the go-to digital destination for local business ratings, stating in a blog post “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.  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.”

A wider range of ratings determined from a larger variety of consumer behaviors and information might benefit consumers, but it may also frustrate business owners who won’t be able to easily determine which specific factors are contributing the most to their rating.


Kim, Ryan. “Foursquare Takes on Yelp with 10-Point Rating System” CNN Money, 11/5/12.

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