29 March 2010 | Team Tamar

Foursquare’s Whoops!: We’ve Seen it Before and We’ll Probably See it Again


On Friday, Foursquare found itself red in the face when it was revealed that the company forgot to renew its domain name ownership.  People who tried to access www.foursquare.com on Friday and Saturday were re-directed to a GoDaddy holding page while the issue was sorted. Luckily for Foursquare, it didn’t lose the domain name as the oversight was detected and resolved by the brand within the grace period prescribed by the domain registration administration people. Foursquare has apparently renewed its ownership of the domain for the maximum 10-years and, I’m assuming, put procedures in place so this doesn’t happen again.

Foursquare’s corporate and regional partners should be pleased to know that this oversight did not appear to affect the functionality of the platform. ‘Check-ins’ and ‘badges’ are the main ways brands interact with users on Foursquare. I was on the road between London and Birmingham almost all day Friday and managed to check-in at a variety of service stations via their iPhone app. I even picked up the ‘photogenic’ badge on Friday! It wasn’t ‘til Saturday evening that I personally realized there was a problem (I was redirected to the GoDaddy page when I tried to access the site via web) and this was after I checked-in a number of times via iPhone earlier in the day.

As I reference in the title of this blog, Foursquare is not the first brand to commit this ‘schoolboy error’. The website for toy store giant Hamley’s went down in the run up to the 2009 holiday season for failure to renew its ownership of hamleys.com. The toy store’s CFO said the site was only down for an hour. During the holiday season, that hour possibly cost them some significant sales?! And way before that, in 2003, Microsoft committed a pretty major cock-up  by forgetting to re-register its ownership of hotmail.co.uk.

If you’re a brand manager, check your company’s domain expiration date today. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing (and possibly costly) for your brand to be in the news for a mistake that could be easily avoided?!

Team Tamar