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Foursquare falls down, lurches back up

Where the hell was I last night?

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Foursquare is back up after a 15-hour outage, but the location tracking service will remain schtum on what went wrong until tomorrow.

The service, which rewards those who check in regularly with mayoral status and pretty badges with which to make friends and influence people, went down yesterday and only returned in the early hours of this morning. The outage left users with only half a dozen alternatives for telling friends where they were, but that's not what Foursquare is about - as the tweets on the subject reflect:

"My @foursquare has been down all day. Grr and someone grabbed my mayorship while I couldn't check in :-( this is a sadness"

Given that nothing happens until it's been tweeted, and relationships don't exist unless they're on Facebook, we're obliged to assume that Foursquare's users simply vanished for 20 hours or so, but are happy to report the world didn't seem to suffer unduly.

Still, the outage is embarrassing for Foursquare, which is facing serious competition from Facebook Places despite the company's assertion that the services are complementary. For some users it's only the badges that are keeping them loyal, which bodes badly for Foursquare even if it can keep the servers running properly.

We're promised a full post-mortem on the catastrophe tomorrow. ®

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