I shouldn't just pick on Foursquare… I have the same issue with most social media applications. The problem is the same in virtually every social platform. With Foursquare, the problem is much more obvious, though. Businesses want to take advantage of the platform – but there's no means to do it.
As a result, you get crap like this… some company that isn't near me and who I have no relationship with, asking me to be their friend.
There's always the possibility that it's a spammer, but I'm not so sure. This could, indeed, be a business who has targeted me and wishes that they had a relationship with them. The real problem, of course, is that there's no means for them to actually do that through Foursquare – so they have to resort to this method.
The relationship between businesses and consumers needs to stop being an afterthought in the creation of new social media platforms. It seems that the only time businesses are offered the opportunity in these businesses is when there's a need to generate revenue. Hence the Foursquare special.
If I'm a business, I can post a special on Foursquare for consumers to take advantage of… once they check-in. There lies another issue with Foursquare. Most businesses don't need to entice consumers after they've already come through the front door – the problem is getting them to the front door.
Foursquare is missing a huge opportunity here. Consumers want to connect with businesses – that's different than being solicited and advertised to by businesses. Ads don't work… relationships do. What if Foursquare, instead, provided you a nice clean interface to find the places around you that your friends frequent the most – along with a segmentation tool so you could segment the type of business.
And what if Foursquare gave businesses the opportunity to publish offers to your network of friends and have them join you when you check in? Now that would be a tool that both businesses and consumers would appreciate!