How can I create a private "Home" venue in Foursquare?
I'd like to let my friends check in to my house on Foursquare when they get to my place for a party, but I really don't want to have my address be out there for the public at large. Is there some sort of solution where I can retain my privacy but still be a Foursquare venue?
Up until very recently, I would have said "nope, no way to really have it stay private" but Foursquare just changed how it addresses home venues and now have a lot more privacy enabled if you mark a venue as a home. This is a great update, in my opinion, because previously it was all too easy for people to have a venue created and then advertised in the Foursquare database as "Mike's Home" or similar. Not so good.
What I've done in the past is walk a block or two away from my house and create a venue that would let people check in to my home, yet not quite be at my house. I know of other Foursquare users who have done the same, and they ask their friends to not create a venue in the correct location. Fortunately, that's now an obsolete strategy -- and about time!
Here's how I've now created a Home venue, starting on my iPhone, and then logging in to the Foursquare Web site to double-check things were set up properly...
First step is to go to check in and let Foursquare show nearby places:
(I've blurred this one, and digitally altered a few of the subsequent images, to protect my privacy. This is my home I'm talking about! :-)
Rather than check in to one of the places, I instead type in the new venue name in the Search box:
Tapping on "Search" reveals that - surprise! - the venue doesn't yet exist in the Foursquare database:
No worries. I tap on "Add this place" and it shows me the venue location on a map and offers the chance to categorize it:
As you can see, I live in the middle of a completely featureless region. Weird, eh? :-)
Foursquare requires venues to be categorized, so tap on "Category (required)"...
"Residence" is our choice, tap on it and you'll see that there are two options:
Specific is good. Tap on "Home". Now you can check in at your house safely!
Look, I'm not the mayor of my own house. I am, however, king of my castle, so it's okay:
Question is, did Foursquare really mark it as a Home, with the additional privacy expected, or not? To find out, I'll go to Foursquare.com. Here I am, just checked in to my Batcave:
Easy shortcut: click on the venue name (in this case "The Batcave (Dave's house)" and it'll show you information about that particular venue:
It's that yellow info box you want to see: "Only you and your friends can see the address on this page. See more information on how Foursquare treats homes [here]". Looks good!
If you don't see that with your home venue, click on "Report a problem" and, as you can see, you'll have the option of recategorizing the venue as a Home:
Of course, I'm not sure how you can ensure someone else doesn't claim your home venue as their home instead, but maybe if they're willing to pay the mortgage or rent, you could work out a deal with them.
Oh, and why "The Batcave"? Not because I'm a particularly big fan of The Batman, but because Foursquare has said that it's the most common name associated with a home venue. So why not join the club?
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