Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yelp launches local events. 230 of them, anyway

Earlier today, Josh Lowensohn at Webware posted an article on Yelp's new events feature. Josh compares the nascent service to Yahoo's, and correctly notes that Yelp's integration is better. He then writes,
For instance, say you want to catch the Beastie Boys show at the Greek Theater tomorrow night in Berkeley. Upcoming can tell you about the venue, but first it'll have to spit you out to Yahoo Local. Yelp on the other hand has their review ratings integrated, so you can quickly tell if the venue is hot or not (sometimes literally) without making you feel like you're being jettisoned to a different Web service.
I'm not surprised that Yelp is adding local events. We believe that events are the pivot point of local search and local commerce, and anyone with serious local aspirations needs to do them well. And while I applaud Yelp's social model for restaurant reviews, their new event service is pretty raw. How many events do they list in San Francisco? 230.

Zvents has 43,000 events in San Francisco. Granted, that's one of our better metros -- in Boston we have a mere 47,000 events, in Detroit we have a bare 13,000 events, and in Chicago, a snip at 7,900 events. Sigh. Gotta work on Chicago.

It's also worth noting that 'search' is a fairly important part of local search. If you click on that link to Zvents' open search for San Francisco between now and noon Saturday, you'll see that the Beastie Boys show in Berkeley that Josh mentions comes up first. Why? Because one of the several flavors of secret sauce that our dynamite search team has baked in the Zvents relevance algorithms is popularity, including both click and search query factors. So if you didn't know that the Beastie Boys were playing this weekend in Berkeley (I know, it happens to even the most-informed of us) Zvents will help you discover it -- and many other events besides. And if events aren't your cup of tea? How about a quarter-million restaurants, or over a million movie showtimes?

Social sites like Yelp -- and like Eventful, Attendio, and Going -- have an important role to play in finding, communicating and coordinating local things to do with your friends. Social networks and good old fashioned email are critical, too. But at the heart of local discovery lies local search, and I'm proud to say that Zvents is doing local event search better than anyone else -- both for our own site at, and for over 70 local newspaper partners, ranging from the biggest local city site in America to local community papers.

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