Advertising Age reports that Foursquare is letting a "handful" of New York-based merchants promote store listings on the platform. The listings show up when a customer is close to the business' location. Small businesses were able to offer discounts after a consumer checked in to the location, but now "some merchants can now lure in nearby consumers by promoting a photo of a dish, a glowing review left by a Foursquare user or just their listing."
Reps from Foursquare could not be reached for comment. However, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley retweeted the Ad Age story.
One of the early testers of the program, Cuban restaurant Agozar, has been using Foursquare program for a few weeks. Owner Gerardo Perez told Ad Age that it has been "working pretty well."
The pilot is part of a monetization strategy by Foursquare to sell ads to users without alienating them. The company, which has more than 25 million registered users, made just $2 million last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.