Foursquare's bittersweet week

Ronny Kerr · October 6, 2010 · Short URL:

The good (200 million check-ins and counting) and the bad (18 hours of downtime)

Foursquare, though happy to hit 200 million check-ins, is not having the best week.

The social location site suffered about 18 hours of downtime the past two days due in large part to an “overloaded database.”

Foursquare blog outage

After Monday’s 11-hour outage, Foursquare Support posted a pretty lengthy technical explanation of what went on behind the scenes, revealing that over half of the downtime was spent “redistributing check-in data” and “rebooting the site.” On Tuesday, the site went down again and was restored six hours later through the same long process.

These are severe hiccups for a service still growing, but the crashes have have a sweet side: it’s proof that Foursquare’s growth has hit astronomical rates.

The location sharing service reached its millionth check-in in late July, a milestone that took well over a year to reach. Two months later, in early October, Foursquare had doubled that milestone, much cause for celebration.

At the same time, unless the Foursquare wants to become what Twitter was last year (a hype machine that couldn’t stop constantly crashing), the startup’s small team will seriously have to focus on scaling for the future. The reality is that more and more users are using Foursquare to share their location online, and persistent downtime is the best possible way to send users searching for alternatives. And if any space has an abundance of competition, location discovery is that space.

Foursquare users who want to stay on top of the service’s status should follow support on Twitter and bookmark their blog.

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