Square has formally launched what it’s calling the Square Directory for the PC (there was already something like this for its mobile app). Just as it sounds, it’s a local search site that lists local businesses that accept/use Square or Pay with Square. It’s not going to replace Yelp any time soon but as Square expands its merchant base it could get quite a bit of usage over time.
In April I wrote that payment sites could become “next-generation” local directories:
These and other mobile payments apps (e.g., Levelup) include directories of merchants using their payments systems. It leads me to think these payments apps could become the next generation of local directory apps. It’s natural for them to try and build out more comprehensive local listings, as well as get more deeply into offers and deals (not to mention analytics and CRM).
Even though Square Directory profile content is thin, and there are no reviews, consumers will potentially use sites/apps like this to find places that accept a particular form of mobile payments. Over time third party APIs and user-generated content could make these sites richer. If that scenario plays out these “payment directories” could give more traditional local sites (e.g., yellow pages) a run for their money.
Foursquare is starting to focus more on mobile monetization with promoted updates. It’s a candidate to buy one of the less-well-known payments platforms for SMBs (e.g., LevelUp). If that were to happen it would take the Square Directory concept to a new level and really add much more utility to Foursquare’s otherwise casual use cases.