Remember Foursquare, the mobile game where users check in to gather badges and mayorships at their favorite local spots? If you're not a brick-and-mortar retailer, it's understandably hard to imagine how to leverage this strange new breed of socnet, which now serves more than 800,000 users worldwide.

To help you get creative, here's a short account of how two media companies gained Foursquare renown.

Financial Times. Observing that most users are urban-dwelling college students or young professionals, the Financial Times struck the following deal with Foursquare: When users check in at cafés, restaurants or libraries near a business school or financial district, they unlock paid FT subscription content—free of charge! This brings to the attention of tomorrow's business executives—and makes it look darned social-savvy to boot.

History Channel. For its miniseries "America: The Story of Us," The History Channel is using Foursquare to bring the past to life. Over the next few months, users who check in at locations of historical merit unlock a limited-edition History Channel badge and learn how the place they're visiting figured in history. Example: How George Washington worshiped at St. Paul's Chapel in New York in 1789.

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