Foursquare, Gowalla Get the SxSW Bump

Geo-local services were the center of attention before the recently concluded South by South West, an annual gathering of folks from technology, music and movie worlds. With the pre-event hype dubbing the competition between the various players as geo-wars.

It is not clear who really won the derby, one thing is for sure — all the hoopla helped Foursquare and Gowalla, the two major competing geo-location services snag tens of thousands of new subscribers following the event. Both companies had released updates to their apps ahead of the SxSW.

Dennis Crowley, co-founder of New York City-based Foursquare said that during the five days of SxSW, his company signed up approximately 75,000 new subscribers. The company has signed up 100,000 new users over past 10 days he said. The company is now said to have over 600,000 users.

Foursquare’s competitor, Austin-based Gowalla signed up tens of thousands of new subscribers, co-founder Josh Williams told me via an email. The company is likely to release new stats this coming week. Both Gowalla and Foursquare have benefitted handsomely from the popularity of the iPhone and the App phenomenon.

For example, nearly 88 percent of Gowalla users come to the service via the iPhone, while Android accounts for 10 percent of its user base. WebOS accounts for 2 percent of GoWalla users. Android and WebOS clients have been available for approximately two weeks.

Crowley told me that nearly 66 percent of his new sign-ups over the past ten days were using the iPhone. Blackberry accounted for nearly 16 percent of the total new sign-ups and Android accounted for about 10 percent of the total. Other platforms including the mobile web, third party apps, Palm and Nokia were about 7.5 percent of the total sign-ups.

In an unscientific shoot-out of 11 location-based services, LBS Zone, a blog devoted to location based services, ranked Gowalla as the most accurate while Foursquare came in at the 9th spot. As I said, this is not an accurate test, but still I thought it would be good to share the results with you.


* Will 2010 Finally Be the Year of Location?
* GigaOM Video: Gowalla CEO Josh Williams
* Why MyTown Is Bigger Than Foursquare & Gowalla.
* Why I Love Foursquare.

Related research from GigaOM Pro:

* Location: The Epicenter of Mobile Innovation (sub required)