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Our Interview with Lee Odden of TopRankBlog

Last week was another hot week for discussing geolocation. Lee Odden, of the online marketing blog TopRankBlog, got into the backstory and development of DoubleDutch. Here are a few of the exchanges between our founder, Lawrence Coburn, and Odden, and you can also read the full interview here.

Lee Odden: What prompted you to create DoubleDutch and how is it different than Foursquare and Gowalla?

Lawrence Coburn: We’re really excited about it – it has been called “Foursquare for the Enterprise” and “Ning for Mobile Social Networks.” We’re OK with both of those descriptions... we set out to build the thing ourselves, leveraging RateItAll’s massive database of geo tagged data. Over the years we had signed a number of geo data partnerships, giving us a big advantage in entering the location fray.

Our goal was to put together a collection of mobile, social components that could be remixed and customized by white label partners. In addition to the check-in functionality, some of our features include game dynamics (leaderboards, achievement stickers, and “Rockstardom,”), ratings and reviews, photo uploads, Facebook / Twitter integration, and many more. This app was in development for more than 6 months and we’re quite happy with how it turned out.

Our big difference from Foursquare and Gowalla is in our emphasis on reviews. We think there is an endemic relationship between a social check-in and a review of a local business. Just as Amazon has been able to leverage sales data to convert more reviews than anyone else, we think that check-ins are the first step towards posting a review.

We also believe strongly in the concept of “The community IS the social graph.” What I mean by this is that on public networks like Foursquare or Gowalla, you need to recreate your social graph for the apps to get any value from the service. Not so on a private network like DoubleDutch. You can imagine an app white labeled for a conference like Pubcon, in which every attendee could see the check in activity of other attendees. Think about what a boon this would be for networking – no more just heading to the lobby bar and hoping for the best. And because everyone was there for Pubcon, no friending would be required.

LO: Who is your target and how do you see them using it? What are your plans to make it competitive with the other apps out there that are already well entrenched?

LC: Our three target verticals right now are Conferences, Hotels, and Universities. We think that almost any community that is tied to a location could benefit from a location and knowledge sharing service, but we needed to narrow the universe down a bit. Conferences and Hotels are interesting because they typically are communities of people who are converging on a new city looking for recommendations and interaction. DoubleDutch helps on both counts. Universities are interesting because of their tie to a specific geography, and the demographic.

LO: How does the Double Dutch app tie in to your main business, RateItAll?

LC: Great question. We are seeing signs that DoubleDutch has the potential to become our main business, with RateItAll taking a supporting role. RateItAll provides a tremendous foundation for the service, with its massive amount of geo tagged data, and its 4M+ reviews. Our server infrastructure is key as well as it allows us offer SLAs to our clients. Also, all check in, ratings, reviews, and photo activity is aggregated on, making DoubleDutch another content collection channel.

By DoubleDutch Insider | 20 April, 2010

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