How Foursquare knew before almost anyone how bad things were for Chipotle

by Larry Emmott on May 5, 2016

in Digital Marketing,Management,Mobile,Security,Social Media

From The Washington Post:

Chipotle announced its first loss as a public company Tuesday. But two weeks earlier, an unlikely source —the social media app Foursquare — had beat Chipotle to the punch, predicting in a blog post that the burrito maker’s sales would drop nearly 30 percent. Chipotle made it official Tuesday afternoon — reporting a drop of 29.7 percent.

Source: How Foursquare knew before almost anyone how bad things were for Chipotle – The Washington Post

foursquareFoursquare knew Chipotle was in trouble because fewer people were “checking in”. Foursquare is designed specifically to track where you are and people who use it know they are giving up some privacy for a perceived benefit.

However there are many apps that track where you are using GPS and cell tower data that are not specifically a location app. The app gathers this data in order to sell it to people who can use it to their advantage. For example a stock trader could make a killing if he or she knew the earnings of a public traded company would fall 30% before the rest of the world found out.

The vast amounts of data – such as your location at any given time – that mobile apps are accumulating provide a treasure trove of information about how humans behave. In theory we could use this data to learn to interact more effectively and to improve the human condition.

On the other hand there is a definite creepy factor to knowing someone else can see where you are and where you have been at all times. There is also the issue of apps gathering location data and other bits of personal information that are not essential to their function but can be sold for a profit. When you download an app they are required to tell you what data it will be accessing. Most of the time we just click past this without looking. Don’t. You will be surprised at how many apps want access to personal data including location tracking. Think twice before saying yes. As a general rule if the app is free then you are the product.

So far using tracking data as Foursquare did with Chipotle works with large multi facility organizations that rely on walk in traffic. At this time there is no direct application for dentists looking to improve their practice. However in the future there easily could be.

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