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Evan Couch looks to Craigslist for inspiration in building a better online events calendar
Like, say, a comprehensive events calendar.
Enter Eventist, a new online events calendar created by Evan Couch, a New York City-based entrepreneur. Open, intuitive and anonymous, Eventist aims to be the number one user-generated hub for finding what to do in your area. And, like so many other good things, it was inspired by romance.
“My girlfriend was living in the Bronx, I was in Brooklyn,” says Couch, explaining the origin of the idea for Eventist. “We would meet up in Manhattan, but there were very limited resources for planning in advance. The best we had was Time Out New York, but that would lump up events and wasn't very organized to find something local and specific."
Make no mistake: online events sites are by no means lacking. Among uncountable others, there’s Frommer’s whatsonwhen, Yahoo’s Upcoming, Zvents and, most recently and most popularly within the tech community, Plancast.
Plancast, however, is exactly the kind of events site Couch is trying not to build. On that site, the experience is social right from the get-go, as users are strongly encouraged to sign in with either their Facebook or Twitter account. Once inside, the user automatically sees events that might be relevant to their interests based on the events their friends and followers are attending. It’s undeniably brilliant for efficiently connecting people to events they might be interested in, but it’s not the end-all of events sites. What if I want something that feels more natural, more like a calendar? What if I don’t want everyone to know about the events I’m planning to attend?
Ignoring the current Facebook and Twitter obsession, Eventist looks to Craigslist for most of its inspiration. The interface (screenshot at top and below) is simple and to the point. There are two other layouts (week and day) and you can filter events by category, time, cost and age. As on Craigslist, anyone can create an event without an account and without paying a dime. And the entire site is ad-free.
In the spirit of an open Internet, Couch hopes that freeing the data will allow for the development of a bountiful and healthy ecosystem of events where people will not just be able to post events easily, but won’t ever miss the opportunity to. Just look at Craigslist. It’s a bare-boned text-based site that still manages to attract droves of real estate agents and renters, job seekers and recruiters, and more.
To bring in revenue, Eventist charges promoters to feature events. Not only are these events made more visible, but promoters can also add extra media like background images, logos, video and audio to better advertise the event. Keeping in mind that Eventist is obviously in its very early stages and pricing can always change, each featured event currently costs $10. Clients that want to feature events regularly can also buy packages of credits that lower the per event price.
While Eventist is still a small affair (it only launched a few days ago), Couch doesn’t think he’ll have too much trouble generating traction. His fiancée is a photographer, his brother is a slam poet and his mother works for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Surrounded by art communities, Couch plans to reach out to small organizations putting on small events in New York City to spread the word about his site.
At the moment, Couch’s efforts are completely bootstrapped, though he did get some help from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac NewVenture program, which helps aspiring entrepreneurs bring their dreams to fruition. For Couch, that dream is transforming his elegant events calendar into a moneymaking business, all without the flashing lights of social media.
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Eventist is an online community calendar that makes it easy for users to create and search for events for free. Eventist's strength is in its intuitiveness and ability to bring users to the content they want without complications. Eventist is ad-free and will generate revenue from featured events which are featured prominently on the site and have extra content such as video and audio contant.