Foursquare’s Fail Whale

Foursquare, the location-based service where users check in and earn badges1, is becoming a victim of its own success. Recently surpassing one million checkins per week, the service has experienced very short, intermittent interruptions.

Twice in the last two weeks, I’ve encountered Foursquare’s version of Twitter’s now-infamous “Fail Whale.” In Foursquare’s case, the outage notice depicts a a mayor2 adorned with a cracked crown accompanied by the message, “Looks like we’ve got some problems on our end. We’re on it though – stay tuned!”

Granted, a short outage once a week is nothing to complain about, but it further confirms the service’s growing popularity.

Foursquare: Looks like we've got some problems on our end. We're on it though - stay tuned!

  1. Badges are awarded based on various accomplishments, such as checking in at 50 different venues or check in to one location with 50 or more people.
  2. Any Foursquare user who checks in to one location the most number of times in a two-month period is labeled the mayor of that location.