The New York Times reports on privacy questions concerning some bargain shopping online services:
Ever been in an unfamiliar neighborhood, hungry but without much cash in your pocket? That’s where Cheapism would like to come in. The Web site, which helps you find bargains and inexpensive products, is now offering a “location-based” version.
Cheapism has teamed with the social networking site Foursquare to offer recommendations for a meal that won’t put a big dent in your wallet — with the added perk of telling you if, say, your friends liked it, and whether they happen to be there at the moment. […]
Here’s how it works: Let’s say you are a Foursquare user who tracks Cheapism on your account. When you use the Foursquare app on your smartphone to “check in” to a location — that is, you let your friends know where you are, electronically — Cheapism alerts you if there are nearby restaurants that it recommends. (Foursquare and its ilk let users accumulate points for repeated check-ins, which can eventually lead to discounts or coupons.) […]
Location-based services seem to be catching on, despite some uneasiness about their potential for invasion of privacy. A recent survey by Comscore found that nearly 17 million mobile phone users used such “check in” services, with 12 million doing so on smartphones like iPhones or Android phones.