As was reported by Caroline McCarthy reported on CNET There goes the neighborhood? Ashton Kutcher’s on Foursquare, Ashton Kutcher seems to have created a Foursquare account along with some of his other close contacts (his wife etc) using the same user handles they use on Twitter. While there is not definite confirmation it is very likely they have joined the service.
Caroline brings up a couple of interesting points about the usability of the platform for celebrities who already guard their whearabouts closely, but regardless of that what this will clearly do is bring a thunderbolt of attention to Foursquare.
This is coming at a very advantageous time for Dennis and Naveen as they have (hopefully) not locked up their initial funding round yet because it is super users like this that provide the necessary media attention and pop culture cache to catapult a product into stratospheric growth. Ashton’s attention to Twitter has unarguably brought them millions in national media exposure with no effort, but more importantly for Foursquare, with “Captain Social Media” jumping on board they have effectively captured the white whale that will drive investment speculation on their growth and likely drive real user growth, all of which will drive up the valuation of their company prior to their initial round of investment. This may seem inconsequential, but from an investment perspective it can equal millions.
Back at the beginnings of Dodgeball, Dennis had been growing the product and user base and was looking for either funding or purchase from another entity to take him to the next level. We helped him clean up his brand, redesign the website UI and implement an advertising program with ABSOLUT that allowed users to “friend” the brand after which they would receive useful local based information from the brand.
There is often a little push that investors need to get them convinced to sign that big check. In the case of Dodgeball, you could argue that the ground-breaking deal done with ABSOLUT, which then helped land Dodgeball on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as an innovator in the mobile advertising space, was the push it needed.
Even Dennis will tell you that while there were many factors, this certainly helped provide a necessary validity to the revenue model and gave them the little push they needed to become a more desirable asset for purchase (in this case by Google).
Years later not that much has changed in the mobile marketing game, but a LOT has changed in the device and application market. Foursquare has pushed a similar model while leveraging the use of this new technology to build a company on the verge of funding. If he sticks around and uses the service and promotes its usage, Ashton’s efforts could be the hit they need that unlocks a whole new level of funding.
UPDATE It appears already after Caroline’s article that Ashton has pulled down his account on Foursquare. Wow. That was fast. This opens up an entirely different thread then relating to the usability of this platform from a national audience.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE Scratch that - my bad - the link on the CNET article is incorrect. He’s still there.