Thursday, April 7, 2011

What is Scoville? Will it Heat up Social Media?

It’s not often I get 11 invites in one day to a new social network. Such was the case this week when among all the other mail for my social media strategy business were 11 invitations to join Scoville.

On clicking through from the invitation visitors to the site are greeted by a gigantic image of a cow’s nose and the message “Remember the best places are just under your nose ….” The About page goes on to say:

Welcome to Scoville #beta,

Our mission is to help our users discover at least one great new place every week. We'll make it extremely simple for you to share the places you really love, the places you believe the community should know about.

We're now opening our private beta to Foursquare users, so if you're passionate about your city and want to share awesomeness around you, join the beta now!

So Scoville is tied to Foursquare, but I wanted to know more. Here’s what I learned:

The site is named after the Scoville Scale – the international scale for measuring the heat of hot peppers. Once signed up your profile is also rated in Scoville units. After an easy sign up through Foursquare I was rated a “Jalepeno (their spelling, not mine): 129 Scoville units.”

#TopTuesday is the main way Scoville hopes to engage its members and attract new ones. How it works: Each week members pick a favorite place to be their #toptuesday pick and the each Tuesday Scoville (presuming you’ve granted Twitter access) sends out a tweet about your #toptuesday pick for and invites others to join Scoville. Any tips you’ve left at the venue are included so your friends can see what you recommend. This means that while you are helping your followers find places you like you’re also driving a Trending Topic (#toptuesday) on Twitter (which won’t hurt Scoville).

Promoting Scoville has been well thought out. For example: Promotional tweets Scoville creates for you when you sign up include:
• The Plain: “Help me unlock New York, Join me on Scoville.”
• The intriguing: “I like it Hot, real Hot! I'm ready to blow the Scoville scale!”
• The fun: “Had some dodgy Indian food, now stuck in the bathroom. Next time I go Scoville”

Unlocking your city is not automatic. In Scoville-language users cannot complete their profile or “Unlock your location” until there are 1,000 users at that location. Reaching that many users will be tough on smaller locations or even bigger ones if users are tagged with the town they live in rather than the larger city they feel affinity to. Smart users will go to the Settings page and change their location to the nearest big city.

At SXSW in March Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley said Foursquare was opening its API to anyone who wanted to build layers on top of Foursquare. Is Scoville going to become one of the first big apps to add an extra layer of value on top of Foursquare?

Perhaps more interestingly, will Scoville mean new opportunities in social media strategy for businesses? What do you think?

Possibly related post:
5 Foursquare Apps You May Not Know


  1. Nice recap Mike,

    I like the localized community element and it's ability to provide trusted likes and recommendations from your network.

  2. I just registered on Scoville today and I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Guess it will be hard to get 1,000 users in a small town as Kristiansund, Norway. Wrote about it on my blog, though:

  3. I'm also not sure what the big picture is with Scoville. I kinda get it but then again... why? There's foursquare and so many other discovery services already available. What does it do for me? I'm not sure...

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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