When you see an update with a lightening bolt appear in Explore or when you search for a place, that means that it’s ‘promoted.’ Promoted updates are just like local updates, except that businesses can pay to promote them in our Explore results. The update can be a money-saving special, an update on a new fashion line, or a photo of their latest dish. It works similar to ads on Google; there, if you search for ‘laptops,’ you’ll see an ad for an electronics website next to the results. In Foursquare, if you do the same search in Explore you might see a promoted special about a weekend deal at a nearby computer store.
Why am I receiving this promoted update? The algorithms (the secret sauce!) that power Explore’s personalized recommendations are the same ones we use to figure out which updates are perfect for you. For example, promoted updates might include places that are on your lists, places your friends have been to or liked, or places you’d likely want to check out given the time of day or neighborhood you’re in. We spent a lot of time designing this so you’ll never see a promoted update from a place that the Explore algorithm wouldn’t recommend for you.