Category Archives: Ideas

Developer Opportunity: Pinterest + CityGrid

Pinterest is blowing up, its one of those new app crazes that has really struck a chord, primarily with women. Its all over the media and blogosphere, and everyone is talking about staggering user counts and how much traffic can drive to a website.

I started playing with the Pinterest API to see what the potential of the platform is beyond just the consumer side. The API is simple, yet robust and each and every pin potentially has latitude, longitude and other location information associated with it.

To date the consumer side of Pinterest is is organized by category and very photo based for exploration and discovery. The local potential of Pinterest doesn’t even seem tapped at all yet, leaving huge opportunity for developers to build something cool that allows users to explore interesting things in a map, by city, neighborhood, zip code or in real-time via their mobile phone.

With this opportunity I’m adding it to my developer opportunity list. Seems like Pinterest API combined with CityGrid Places, Offers and Reviews APIs, you could make some interesting user experiences allowing web and mobile users to explore interesting things right around them.

You could easily monetize just by showing CityGrid places along with Pinterest content, and if you wanted to further monetize with CityGrid local advertising. I’m going to play with some PHP, Python and Ruby samples for Pinterest + CityGrid integrations, then maybe some mobile samples as well.

Let me know if you have any ideas as well.

HyperLocal App Idea: Historical Stories

I’ve always been a history buff. If I hadn’t discovered programming in high school I would have ended up going to college for a history degree. In my travels I spend a lot of time walking around finding historical sites and buildings, to learn whatever I can.

When I was in Philadelphia, New York and Boston a couple of weeks I kept stumbling across amazing old buildings, but knew nothing about them. I would check-in using Foursquare in hopes of using the location to find more information about the place, later when online.

I was thinking it would be nice to have a Foursquare like check-in app, where I could look for sites around my location, check in at them and either get more textual information for reading or tap into some sort of audio podcast for listening to historical stories as I walk.

In my research I’ve come across APIs InfoChimps, providing access to Wikipedia articles associated with geographic information, and I’m sure if I looked harder I could find more resources. It would take several APIs like CityGrid for places, Foursquare for check-in, InfoChimps for Wikipedia, and a couple other tools for text to audio and other richer places data to augment what CityGrid offers.

A historical stories mobile app would definitely take some engineering, but its something you could find a wide audience of history buffs to use, and easily monetize using CityGrid mobile advertising. Wish i had more time–let me know if your interested.

Do You Have the Next UrbanSpoon App?

I was just reading the latest blog post from UrbanSpoon, where they reflect back on the 2011 year–where they saw 80% growth in overall traffic to their restaurant information and recommendation service.

UrbanSpoon began as a publisher within the CityGrid API ecosystem and after successfully attracting a significant local audience, IAC, CityGrid’s parent company offered to invest in the startup. Two years later, they are still growing and proving to be a force to reckon with in the restaurant mobile space.

UrbanSpoon is the poster child of what any developer can do with the CityGrid places, offers, reviews APIs and advertising. You don’t have to limit yourself within the restaurant space, there are plenty of other areas that haven’t been tapped–from doctors and dentists to hair dressers and beauty salons.

All it takes is realizing your idea, signing up for a CityGrid publisher account, then build your web or mobile application. Once your app is ready for launch, submit it to our partner account management team for review, and they’ll approve you for advertising revenue share.

I recommend launching your app in the cities and markets you know best, then once you get more traction, grow into other markets as your resources allow. Don’t spread yourself too thin, bring in revenue and grow your startup in a healty way.

Who knows, your idea could be the next UrbanSpoon, and catch the eye of the IAC / CityGrid incubation team as one of the next must have investments.