It's a federal offense to take a bribe, endorse a product online and keep it secret. The Feds even launched an educational campaign about it. Too bad they never got around to educating Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley.
Crowley, the carousing king of checkins, proposed at a panel discussion at NYU the other night that "you should get some kind of referrer's fee" when you get your online followers to buy, say, movie tickets. "I bet that exists within a year. There will be some way for you to get kickbacks." Forbes' Jeff Bercovici then asked Crowley if his idea for "kickbacks" from sites like Foursquare might run afoul of the strict federal rules against "kickbacks" from sites like Foursquare.
Crowley was surprised. He hadn't known that was the case, he said. He made a note to bring up the issue with Foursquare's legal team, and thanked me for alerting him to a potential complication that could influence their decision about whether to move forward.