Do Tips on Nearby Bargains Outweigh Privacy Concerns?

Are you hungry, do not have much cash but a smartphone on hand?

Cheapism will be your hero. The website now has a “location-based” version to help you find bargains and cheap products at anytime anywhere. The effort is done by its partnerships with the social networking site Foursquare.

For those who are not familiar with Foursquare, you might not understand how this work. Let me explain.

Foursquare is a location based mobile application such that you can “check in” to a location or in other words, let your online friends know your exact location. Based on your checked-in location on Foursquare, Cheapism will recommend cheap restaurants located nearby. Besides, users can also get discounts or coupons for repeating check-ins via Foursquare.

Although Cheapism doesn’t have its own reviews, it extracts reviews from reliable sources such as Zagat’s, TripAdvisor and UrbanSpoon to create simple tips for its users. So far the service is only available in some major cities in US.

There are a lot other location-based apps similar to Cheapsim that make use of the location based service and it has been hot and widely used lately. Around 17 million mobile phone users are using this kind of service.

However, there are some problem of invasion of privacy as well. A site called hypothesized that based on your check-ins at other places, you indicated that you are not at home and hence vulnerable to burglary. I bet some of you just realized about the vulnerabilities to burglary after reading this article. Foursquare is so fun that everyone is using it and did not realize how much personal information they have provided to parties with bad intentions.

Do you really think bargain dining and shopping is more important than privacy concern with location-based services?


Actually, there are some something that we can do to minimize the vulnerabilities caused by location based services. For examples:

  • Don’t add random strangers as friends
  • Don’t check in from places you don’t want your friends, boss or family members know about
  • Don’t become Foursquare friends with pure Facebook friends
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