MONTREAL, Quebec – July 9, 2008 – Millions of conversations about local places are occurring across blogs and social media sites every day, yet they are fragmented and unstructured. Online communities now have the tools to capture, aggregate and structure these conversations to deliver relevant recommendations for their users, thanks to Praized Media, the first distributed local search platform designed for social media. The new venture, founded by a team of social media experts and local search technology veterans from Yellow Pages Group, today announced the beta launch of its platform and availability of the first Praized communities on MoCo Loco design blog and Facebook.
Praized Makes Local Search Simple and Relevant
Praized’s platform is based on a distributed approach to ensure that each community delivers local results that are relevant to its users. For example, a Praized installation on a vegan blog will have completely different restaurant recommendations than on a meat-lovers’ blog because the two groups have fundamentally different tastes. Praized has developed a platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges associated with aggregating social media content around places and offers the following key benefits to social media publishers and their communities:
- Expand Content, Ad Revenue and Page Views: Praized’s platform is free to social media sites and provides publishers with new sources of content, incremental ad revenue and increased page views. The platform enables site publishers to easily leverage their existing community to tap into the valuable, but difficult to execute local and social search space. It is also fully search-engine optimized to help drive additional local traffic to community sites from search engines.
- Seamless Integration: Praized designed a white-label platform that integrates seamlessly with editorial content by using either an API or plug-ins that are compatible with SixApart’s MovableType and WordPress. Bloggers and site editors can embed snippets of merchant information within posts or news articles to drive traffic to their Praized-powered local section. Praized also designed its platform to be available to Facebook application developers and others through an API.
- Rich Local Content: Partnerships with Yellow Pages Group Co. and Localeze provide each Praized community with access to more than 17 million searchable North American business listings. Each listing has a place profile with contact information, a map and default tags. As users contribute additional tags, the merchant profile gains added context and color.
- Discoverability & Social Tools: Praized communities enable users to search, discover and discuss places with like-minded people. Users benefit from discovering the “long tail” of places via discussions on lesser known local merchants that struggle to be found through Web search. End-users also get real value from social tools that allow them to tag, comment, bookmark, share and vote on places that matter to them.
- Centralized Database: An aggregated view of local conversations from all Praized communities is compiled at www.praized.com, enabling users to discover new like-minded groups.
“As social channels are becoming increasingly important for consumer research, users turn to their trusted communities, or tribes, for recommendations and opinions on local places to make better decisions,” said Harry Wakefield, chief executive officer at Praized Media. “Praized was founded on the principle of ‘trusting your tribes’ and provides the tools for social media publishers to capture word of mouth occurring within their communities, giving users a simple way to search, discover, and recommend local places with like-minded folks.”
Praized Powers Local Search for Design Buffs and Social Networking Enthusiasts
The first online community to use the embeddable Praized platform is MoCo Loco, the modern and contemporary design blog. The MoCo Loco audience will benefit from access to a comprehensive database that pulls together all conversations that have occurred on the blog and Praized’s searchable places database to deliver relevant recommendations. The platform’s integrated social tools allow users to discuss and discover new local places with like-minded people. While the blogging tools allow Moco editors to blog about local places easily and solicit their readers’ opinions.
Praized also announced today the launch of its Facebook Praize’n’Raze application, allowing Facebook users to create a unique local search experience that fits the context of their tribe of friends. Users will be able share their favorite local places with friends on Facebook and find out if they agree or disagree with their friends’ choices with the Praized application. Will you Praize or Raze their choices?
“We are thrilled to launch the first Praized community on such an active blog and also make our versatile platform available to Facebook users,” said Harry Wakefield, chief executive officer of Praized Media. “The MoCo Loco audience can truly benefit from a local search site because these folks share an interest and passionate discussions around modern design and furniture, while our Facebook application opens the door for any type of group or tribe of friends on Facebook to have a local search tool to deliver relevant, trusted recommendations.”
Praized’s founding team has extensive experience in local search and new media technology. Wakefield is the former general manager of Yellow Pages Group online directories, is the founder of a Technorati Top 1000 blog and was instrumental in the launch of Teleglobe’s global internet service. Sylvain Carle, once a Silicon Valley CTO for hire, is Praized’s chief technology officer and has been at the bleeding edge of new media and networked applications for more than 10 years with lead roles at LVL Studio, Messagia and My Virtual Model. Sebastien Provencher is the company’s vice president of product management and business development. Previously, Provencher developed Yellow Pages Group’s most successful online advertising product (DirectoryPlus) and striked a strategic deal with Google, helping create a new vision around local search for the company.
In an earlier announcement, Praized released details of its distribution agreements with Yellowbook in the US and Yellow Pages Group Co. in Canada. Praized communities now have access to direct links to relevant local search results on yellowbook.com and YellowPages.ca websites, providing truly comprehensive results and options for users.
About Praized Media, Inc.
Praized Media, Inc. is the first distributed local search platform designed for bloggers and social media publishers to capture, aggregate and structure their community’s conversations about local places. Free to bloggers and community site publishers, Praized’s platform comes pre-loaded with over 17 million North American searchable business listings and seamlessly integrates with all types of editorial content. Praized’s platform is based on a distributed approach to ensure that each community delivers local results that are relevant to its users and also hosts a centralized database with its complete network of communities at www.praized.com, providing a unique, highly targeted social media based local ad network. Founded by a team of local search technology veterans and social media experts, Praized is based in Montreal and received funding from Garage Technology Ventures Canada in September 2007.
Update: you can find the French version of the release here.