Center’d Relaunch a Fresh Approach to Local

picture-27When Center’d (formerly Fatdoor) launched last year it was effectively creating a novel category that hadn’t really existed in the local space or elsewhere for that matter: local planning. Tools allowed individuals and groups to plan events, travel and evenings out. The tag line was “people, places, plans.” I wrote at the time (10/08):

Center’d emerged from the flames of the somewhat ill-conceived Fatdoor. (Here’s my original post from April.) I had several conversations with Dulski before launch but haven’t talked to her much since then. The site essentially created a new category: local planning. The tag line is: people, places, plans.

Initially many analysts and tech bloggers didn’t know how to think about the site because it didn’t fit neatly into an established segment; it was a bit of this and a bit of that. But tech bloggers don’t matter as it turns out. Dulski told me that since launch and especially following a back to school campaign that Center’d did, it has seen great traction with 111% growth in September.

The “local search” content was present but was subordinated in a way to the planning tools. Now with the relaunch, the tag line has changed somewhat to: “Center’d helps you plan life’s activities.” Local search content is now much more squarely in front of users. The planning tools are still very much a part of the site experience. Events (from Eventful) are also a compliment to the business listings content.

The new site is directed toward 12 major markets at the outset:

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At the heart of the new site is a visually rich, user-friendly interface that sits on top of a sophisticated algorithm and classification scheme. Rather than plug queries into a search “box,” users:

  1. Pick a city
  2. Choose a style
  3. Select a category

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Icons representative of these choices are carried through the site to provide visual cues and aids to search results:

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Underlying “semantic” technology and machine learning allow incoming listings data to be classified into these various categories and sub-categories on an automated basis. They allow for non-standard “queries” like “kid-friendly shopping” or “recession busters.” Users may also do direct business name searches through the standard search box at the top of the page.

Center’d has also enlisted local bloggers to provide content to the site:

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The “gestalt” of all this is the “branded experience” that Center’d is creating for its audience of adults and parents. The visual appeal, demographic focus, planning angle, non-standard categories and underlying technology make the new Center’d a very interesting place indeed.

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Related: Here’s the release.

2 Responses to “Center’d Relaunch a Fresh Approach to Local”

  1. hauteroute Says:

    Greg, interesting post. Have you checked out NileGuide (www.nileguide.com)? The site’s mission is enable travelers plan their perfect trip, quickly and easily, but it’s super-useful for locals to find things to do, restaurants, and bars in their local area, or to plan weekend getaways. Curious to know what you think…

  2. Stream o’ consciousness for April 30th | Mike Orren Says:

    […] Center’d Relaunch a Fresh Approach to Local — 12:39am via Google […]

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