Ticketing site SeatGeek has been on a tear recently, announcing big traffic growth and a partnership with Yahoo. Now the startup is taking the rich data set it built up selling tickets for sporting events and concerts and branching out to recommendations, creating a service called “Columbus” to help users find games and concerts they didn’t know about but might enjoy.
The company uses collaborative filtering to match users with events they might like. So for example, the team at SeatGeek saw that Nets and Knicks fans were also very likely to be interested in college basketball when it came to town. “The system matches a “this” with a “that”. Then we figure out which “this” is relevant to a particular user,” said Adam Cohen, a Seatgeek engineer working on Columbus. “We look at your behavior on the site, your Facebook if you connect it, and the preferences you input into our system.”
SeatGeek has tons of data on sports. On the music side, where they have less proprietary data, they are drawing on an API from Last.fm to help flush out the connections between more obscure acts. “We know a ton about Lady Gaga, but when it comes to the more obscure indie acts, we like to supplement with data from Last.fm,” Mr. Cohen told Betabeat.
It was a big decision to create this new project and dedicate resources to it while SeatGeek is still young. “In many ways, launching Columbus felt like building another startup,” said SeatGeek co-founder Russell D’Souza. “However, we’re focused on not just being a transaction engine where users go to buy tickets. We want to move further up the funnel and provide a sticky experience when users go to plan events.It meshes perfectly with SeatGeek. Once users find the events they are interested in, they can take advantage of our best-in-class metasearch engine.”
Betabeat has heard a number of VCs talking recently about how ripe the calendar space is for disruption, so this seems like a market to watch.
The first 20 users to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Land Ho” can get access to the private Columbus beta, so holler.