Foursquare and Yahoo Discussing Potential Data Partnership

New York-based startup Foursquare may have found its most lucrative business move yet, which involves monetizing data about venues and locations that has been collected from millions of check-ins. The company already monetizes data through a partnership with Gnip, which sells packaged data from social services like Twitter, but these efforts may be expanded in the future if Foursquare partners with Yahoo for the company’s location data.

“Foursquare sells a lot of ads, but the biggest upside for the location-sharing startup may be in selling its data,” reports BuzzFeed. “And sources say Yahoo is interested.”

The company earned $2 million in ad revenue in 2012, which is reportedly doubling every quarter.

Foursquare may also partner with Apple to serve its data for iPhone’s Maps application. The company’s data is more valuable now than it was in the past due to Google’s $1 billion acquisition of Waze.

“Similar to Foursquare, Waze has a large community of users that essentially builds a database of intersections and streets along with traffic data, while Foursquare focuses on locations like venues and restaurants,” notes the article. “Waze also uses data available through Foursquare’s platform.”

Foursquare has accumulated one of the most important databases as a result of check-ins and apps that use Foursquare and send data back to the company. More than 50,000 developers tap into Foursquare’s API.

“We’re getting a lot of data back that’s actually making our product better,” explains Holder Luedorf, head of business development at Foursquare. “We have a good amount of photos in our database attached to venues coming back from Instagram, for example.”

“And unlike Yelp, which relies on its users actually giving a star rating (out of five) in addition to a review, Foursquare is able to semantically infer the rating of a venue based on tips, frequency of check-ins, comments about the venue, and a myriad of other data points,” notes BuzzFeed.