As the Observer reported in April, Webster Hall, the old-school labyrinthine nightclub on East 11th Street known for its live rock shows and bridge-and-tunnel crowd dance nights, is going through an upgrade to attract a new generation of socially networked club-goers.
Brian August, president of Webster Hall Digital, told the Observer at the time that he wanted to bring social networking into the club: “What about what we do online, with a text message, could we do it here?” he wondered. “How about a live Twitter-like feed on a screen—you’re sitting next to her, and you’re both looking at the screen; it’s easy to use your geekness.”
He pulled his pink BlackBerry from his pocket to mime punching in a text message. “Say, ‘Hey you, in the pink skirt—meet me at the bar in the Marlin room and I’ll buy you a martini.”
This Saturday, Aug. 15th, Mr. August’s vision will come to life at Webster Hall. match2blue, a San Fransisco-based mobile solutions company (which is planning on relocating to New York in six weeks), created a customized iPhone application for the club and Webster Hall will celebrate with special promotional activities, including a competition in the Grand Ballroom at 1 a.m. where club goers can win App Store vouchers. Anyone who downloads the application will get free admission on club nights from Aug. 15th through Aug. 31st.
Currently available for download in the App Store for $1.99, the “Webster Hall powered by match2blue” application will allow users to create their own profiles and find people will similar interests in the building.
Users will use drop-down menus with multiple choice answers to questions about their favorite drink, favorite music, favorite DJs (it takes less than a minute to set up) and other information like age and occupation. The app will then create a kind of recommendation list of people to connect with based on similar interests (a bit like a matchmaking dating service on the go).
Users will also be able to filter searches for other people in the club, based on their age, interests, gender, etc.
If they see a profile they like, and notice that the other person is in Webster Hall, they can click a button that will allow them to offer someone a drink. They just type a location and a short description of themselves. The guy or gal can either “accept” or “ignore” the invitation.
Screens in Webster Hall will display activity on the application’s “public wall.” Users can take photos with their phones or write messages and opt-in to post them on the screens. But beware! If a guy or gal “ignores” your drink request–it gets posted on the wall for all the club-goers to see.
They plan on incorporating Facebook profile information and allowing more freedom to insert detailed profile interests in a future version of the application.
Jakob Schreyer, director of marketing for match2blue, said Webster Hall can also send targeted messages to the application’s users based on their interests and location. “They can say, ‘We want every female member between 18-25 whose interested in Bacardi’ to get this message,” he told the Observer. Or, “If they have a party and there are less people than expected–they can send out a coupon for 20- or 30- percent off a drink or get free admission to anyone within 5 miles of the club.”
match2blue recently closed a deal with a “major airline” for whom they are making a customized application so frequent travelers can find seats next to people with similar interests on their flights. The application may also work as a kind of mobile airport guide. The airline can send passengers coupons for a free coffee if their flight is delayed or highlight a magazine deal as they walk by a news stand.
match2blue is also discussing making applications for non-profit groups, record labels and other businesses.
match2blue founder Holger Mannweiler said the company’s goal is to take all that great software knowledge that works so well to connect people on the Web and bring it into the streets. “We’re not like, a lot of other social networks where we just provide a platform and try to get people to use it,” he explained. They want to connect people out in the real world and “get interesting conversations in real life, not at home, on the screen.”
Here’s to getting the geeks a little action beyond the virtual world.