Benedict Evans, a popular London-based tech and media analyst (and Fred Wilson's "favorite read on the Internet") wrote a post this morning about how "significant reduction in consumer interest" for Foursquare in the US and the UK is being offset by "strong growth" in Indonesia and Turkey.
Evans uses data from Google Trends based on searches for "Foursquare," which is a flawed indicator for the popularity of mobile service—even if the company's desktop search engine for local businesses is out to destroy Yelp. As Wilson notes in the comments of the post, "search volume is likely a proxy for new users looking to get the app and not existing users."
You have to scroll a long way down to find Foursquare's rank in the U.S.
International growth is great news for Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley and investors like Wilson, who happen to be featured front-and-center endorsing Evans' newsletter, especially considering that the company had to dodge down round by taking on debt funding in April.
Funny thing, though, Foursquare's popularity in Indonesia has been noted before, like this 2010 post on About Foursquare about the "digital trickery" consumers used to unlock "almost every badge without leaving their couch in Indonesia."
I've reached out to Foursquare, which just released a new update with real-time recommendations today, and will update the post if I hear back.
UPDATE: Foursquare spokesperson Brendan Lewis offered the following statement on Evans' analysis.
Ben's a smart guy, and he himself points out search volume is a small part of the overall picture (and does not correlate with new signups), especially when you're dealing with mobile apps like Foursquare. Our growth is strong across the board, and yes, Turkey is insanely hot for us right now.
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