aNewDomain.net—Evzdrop is one of those start-ups that is going places, reaching customers and businesses, as CEO David Rush says, one drop at a time. Evzdrop is a location-based interest network that lets you listen in on what’s happening in specific places in real time.
I had the opportunity to ask a few of my own questions to Evzdrop’s founder and CEO, David Rush, who will be in San Francisco, participating in SF NewTech on Jan. 21, 2012.
SF NewTech is a popular event for startup companies to demo products and services to an audience of industry insiders, venture capitalists, journalists, hackers, developers, and recruiters. The platform: a fast-paced five minutes to present and five minutes of questions for each demo.
How does Evzdrop work?
When you create a post called a Drop, your name shows up partially. This lack of focus on the person and more on the location makes Evzdrop an interest network making it one of the many ways it’s different from social networks such as FourSquare, Yelp and Twitter. The goal for Evzdrop is to learn about places users have an interest rather than highlighting the people and their actions within social networks.
You can easily find a location on the app as it populated via Google play’s APIs. You can choose the Find icon if it doesn’t automatically pop up. Evzdrop works on the premise that you are at the location. You can choose to create a Drop at the location by writing a post, known as a micro-review, that consists of 140 characters or less, choose to go Stealth or post it to Facebook or Twitter, give it a thumbs up or down and even post a photo. Once your Drop is created it will show up in blue. Other viewers who see your Drop can give it Props, similar to a thumbs up or down, helping provide buzz about the location.
Businesses that sign on with Evzdrop appear as green Drops and may include promotions and incentives for customers. Businesses can follow trends and customer behavior through an analytics dashboard. This real-time data is collected from customers’ interactions and helps businesses create customized campaigns that include push notifications based on geo-relevancy. Companies are able to really drill down and target customers with relevant marketing and eventually, advertising opportunities. At this time Evzdrop has a number of pilot clients such as the InterContinental, Fairmont Chicago, and Dana Hotel and Spa that are launching campaigns based on the data gathered from users’ behavior on Evzdrop.
Evzdrop is growing in a number of ways. It launched in Chicago and is expanding to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York and eventually nationwide. University students are important Evzdrop brand ambassadors who help get other students on campus to use the app. Evzdrop is working with bloggers such as the Chicago Bloggers Network (CBN) and will launch affiliate marketing and mobile advertising to reach new users.
How is Evzdrop different from all the other review-based apps?
There have been a lot of concerns about the trustworthiness of reviews and this is where Evzdrop sees itself pulling away from the others in the space. An article in the LA Times stated, “40 percent of online reviews are sketchy, according to experts.” One percent of users actually create the content, 9 percent of users will comment, and a whopping 90 percent will check out and review the content. To avoid falling into this trap, Evzdrop has created ways to validate and confirm the integrity of a reviewer’s data and authenticated Drops appear only if the user is at the location. A user can choose to be in Stealth mode when providing a Drop, but the Drop will show up if the person is present at the location. The company plans to release a feature shortly called the Commentary that will authenticate comments to validate that users are actually present.
How did this all start?
The social-local space is growing, and so is the number of smartphones. More than 89 percent of smartphone owners use their devices at retail stores according to Nielsen Smartphone Analysis, Dec. 2011. According to eMarketer in 2012, the number of businesses using location-based apps was expected to grow from 10 percent in 2011 to 19 percent in 2012. Evzdrop secured $500,000 and angel funding in September 2012. Rush said he’s looking to raise more money to expand into new markets, increase marketing and grow head count.
Introduction Video to Evzdrop
Evzdrop is available for free in the Apple App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPAD. It requires iOS 5.0 or later and is optimized for the iPhone 5. The Android app is coming soon to Google Play and will be available just in time for SF NewTech.
Based in San Francisco, Julie Blaustein is senior photojournalist and former senior photo editor, teamBYTE. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on twitter.com/julierb and +julieblaustein on Google+.