Will People Pay +$5 For A FourSquare Badge?
A couple of days ago it was announced that FourSquare had teamed up with GoGo WiFi (a company which offers in-flight WiFi) to offer their users a new badge to be earned on FourSquare – the Mile High Badge (see it below)
Now, I am a FourSquare user and I love collecting badges. I love that more and more companies and organizations are partnering with FourSquare to make more badges available as that helps make the game more fun. My question about this badge is rooted in this quote from the AboutFourSquare blog article where I read about this new badge: “The pricing for GoGo’s services vary from $4.95 for short flights to a $34.95/month unlimited option“. My question, as you may have guessed, is the title of this blog post:
Are people really going to be willing to pay $5 (or more) for a FourSquare Badge?
FourSquare is a game and right now badge collecting is a large facet of this game for a lot of people – especially those who don’t have many of their friends playing yet. To charge people to get a badge is slightly ridiculous and I personally don’t like the precedent it might set. I think the folks at FourSquare should be taking more time to figure out what use the points are going to be aside from being on a weekly reset leader board.
Not that I don’t think there is value in the service of having WiFi on a flight and then you can get this badge as a side bonus – especially as the majority of people who use FourSquare right now are the more tech inclined. I would totally pay for WiFi on a flight…except for the fact that there are now airlines who are offering this service for FREE! (Virgin America since May 2009). I think, in fact, I would rather the price was built in to my ticket and the companies offering GoGo WiFi could claim it as “free WiFi” too. (For all we know Virgin does that as well). For myself, if I am looking at any flight longer than the short hop from Toronto-NYC (1 hour) I would be willing to pay a little bit extra on my ticket for “Free” WiFi. Also, if a company did this they could probably get away with charging less per person for people to have WiFi on their flights because everyone on the flight is paying for it. This differs greatly from offering “Free meals” on a flight in that the WiFi signal is going to be there regardless of how many people are on the flight. You don’t ‘waste’ WiFi if no one uses it – unlike meals which if people refused probably (or at least I hope) went in the trash. AND because a very high percentage of people have cell phones which are WiFi enabled (BlackBerry, iPhone, Android devices etc) even if they don’t bring their laptops, netbooks, tablets, e-readers, etc with them on the plane they can still benefit from the WiFi by using it on their mobile devices.