Foursquare and Yelp Trade Territorial Jabs

Things are heating up between Foursquare and Yelp, as each of the social media brands have staked a claim in the other’s branded territory during the last week.

Foursquare is now appearing at the bottom of restaurant reviews and other cultural coverage articles in The Wall Street Journal. When WSJ.com readers mouse over a small Foursquare icon, they’ll see the following copy pop up: “Add this venue to your to-do list on Foursquare.” The feature premiered this morning in the “NY Lunchbox” section of the newspaper at the end of a review for Rockaway Taco, a fish taco spot on the Long Island Shore.

Those who click through can add it to their to-do list on the geo-locations service, while also seeing the following offer: “Spend the extra dollar to top your taco with guacamole [$4 in all]. And don’t miss the cold salad of cucumber, mango and jicama, which is served in a sealed plastic sandwich bag [$2].”

An interesting value-add for those in restaurant public relations, indeed.

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A spokesperson for the New York-based Foursquare stated that the button will only appear on WSJ for now. “We’re very excited about the feature, and we’re working to determine the best way to roll it out to other partners,” the spokesperson said. The geo-social company wouldn’t say if the development represented a revenue-making deal.

Foursquare has been encouraging users to write “tips” for restaurants, bars, retail stores, and other places they check into for most of its 15-month existence. While the timing is likely coincidental, the company’s foray into restaurant reviews comes less than a week after Yelp upgraded its iPhone app to include Foursquare-like features for mobile users. If app users check into enough restaurants or shops of the same kind, they can earn virtual badges attesting to their affinity for Vietnamese sandwiches, ice cream, pizza, kebobs, soul food, etc.

Copycatting Foursquare’s “mayor” system, people who check in the most often can earn the title of “duke” or “duchess.” Yelp adds a bit of a twist to the concept by awarding a neighborhood title of “baron,” while the person who collects the most “dukedoms” in a city will be hailed “king” or “queen.”

UPDATE: This story was updated from the original to include new quotes from Foursquare.

Follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.

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