Foursquare ads are (finally) coming

It hasn’t been the easiest path to revenue. In social media, it’s hard enough to get advertisers to come in while not making users go out. Foursquare thinks they may finally have a plan that could work.

Last year, Foursquare was said to be on the verge of bankruptcy, unable to turn its social media star into a sustainable business. Since then, however, the startup has raised a $41 million round of financing; reportedly garnered equity interest from Microsoft and American Express; and made significant improvements to its mobile products. Now, the company is taking one of its biggest strides yet toward silencing its critics.

Today, Foursquare announced that it’s opening up its advertising platform to its fast-growing database of small businesses. The service, which allows users to check in to locations via smartphone, has transitioned into a promising search and discovery platform, on which ads are beginning to play a more prominent role in attracting potential customers to venues. Foursquare has been testing its ad product for months with select partners, but now it’s finally giving its 1.5 million merchants access to the service–a move that could generate substantial revenues for the company.

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