Foursquare more than an app to track friends

HOUSTON The original concept behind Foursquare and other applications like it was for friends to keep track of one another, seeing where they were, what places they visited and leave tips for a particular venue, but retailers soon discovered it's another marketing tool and you can benefit.

It's no surprise that our very own super saver Erin Libranda's daughter. Jordan Daile y is saving money using a smart phone application called Foursquare.

"Foursquare is a social networking game that you can play with your phone," Dailey said. "Basically, the concept is checking in to different venues."

For example, Libranda and Dailey checked in at Chili's. The Foursquare application has been downloaded to Dailey's phone and she is able to "check in" using the GPS technology on her smart phone.

"Basically, you just press the button saying you are there, and you get checked in," Dailey said.

At Chili's, Dailey and Libranda got free chips and salsa just for showing the waiter they've checked in on their phone app.

Now to one of Dailey's favorite clothing stores, Express. At participating Express stores, it's buy one, get one half off just for checking in.

"That's half off right there," Dailey said. "You don't even have to be the mayor; you just check in and get that 50 percent off deal."

You can become a mayor of a place if you frequently check in. This also comes with benefits like additional freebies and coupons.

"Whenever you check into places, you get badges, which are just like Girl Scout or Boy Scout badges, but they are Foursquare badges," Dailey said.

The deals get better the more you use the app.

At Massage Envy, if you become the mayor, it's a free aromatherapy upgrade.

"It really is a game for me," Dailey said. "I try to see how many mayorships I can get, which right now I have 21."

We decided to see how well the application works. Using the GPS on a phone, we checked into Robeks Fruit Juice and Healthy Eats. Immediately, a special offer popped up. For every five check-ins, it's a free 12-ounce smoothie.

"The Foursquare is new for us," said Holly Puopolo, who works at Robeks. "We haven't been using it that long and don't have a lot people that know about it yet."

That is why Robeks hopes this application brings on new business and a steady stream of customers.

We teamed up with Libranda, our own Super Saver for this story. If you check out her blog at right now, she has compiled a list of other businesses that are offering "Foursquare" coupons and freebies.

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