Friday, September 2, 2011

Out Of The Shadows


Today we are proud to come out of the mystery and shadows to talk a little about some of the products we are working on to help local thrive.

So what is that we have been so secretive about anyway? Well generally we don't think secrets are healthy, but putting half baked ideas out into the wild can backfire too so we have been waiting until we were a little farther down the road to talk about what we are doing. Let's end with all the mystery then shall we?

We believe that bloggers a key part of the local ecosystem, and you have probably read previous posts about why we love local voices. So to help these voices we are building WordPress plugins to make it easy for the over 50M WordPress bloggers to make their sites hyper-local in minutes.

We call this "Welocally Places for WordPress", and its a plugin for Wordpress. So what is it?

Place Linking

We want to make it really easy for bloggers to identify real places associated with their content. To do this our plugins provide wizards that make finding places that bloggers are writing about as easy as entering the city & state and the common name of the place.

Once selected the content is automatically geo-coded from a worldwide database of over 21M points of interest. These places commonly are annotated with valuable metadata like website address, phone number, and category.

Maps

Maps help people find places. Integrated maps on the web have been super helpful in helping people find local businesses, and are crucial to the hyper-local movement, but require a lot of web skills to integrate into websites. We think that should change.



We think its should be insanely easy for bloggers to map their content, and share that content by location without expensive development. It should have the look and feel of the site its on, and be easy for their readers to connect with the places they are writing about in the real world. Here is what we are offering as part of mapping capabilities:
  • Stylized Info Windows - Custom CSS styles drive the look and feel of popups, or just use one of our included themes.
  • Stylized Markers - Map markers can be as original as your site, and have a number of options such as mouseover or layover text all driven from the widget options.
  • Map Effects - Auto pan, map and zoom level based on the content you have published. All your places always show on the map, no need to pan or zoom on load.
  • Web Location Mashups - Driving directions, add to personal maps, tweet about article with location.
  • Stylized Map Colors - Your CSS drives the colors of the map, or use one of our included themes.
  • Category Filtered Maps - Once you start identifying categories for content or templates will filter posts based on that category and put them on the map.
Beta
We want to make sure we deliver on great quality software products for bloggers, so we are going to offer a trial to all our Beta users. This Beta will be limited, because we are offering 6 months of the service for free just for helping us improve the product. While we do not want to commit to our schedule yet, if you are interested in signing up for this program please just contact me and we will make sure you are involved.

So this is just the beginning, if you are interested in how this all looks when its put together go check out oaklandly.com, our oakland themed hyper-local blog we use as a test bed for our technologies. We are currently looking for Oakland based writers to contribute, so please contact me if you are interested.


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