Thursday, October 6, 2005

Yahoo! buys Upcoming.org

booya

Future Evite crusher Upcoming.org is the lastest in a seemingly endless suply of Ajax powered web pages to be scooped up by search giant Yahoo.

In July of 2004 Yahoo purchased Oddpost, a future-looking web-based email provider whose features far outweighed that of the status quo Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. Oddpost is the foundation of what will be the next iteration of Yahoo mail with features to peer-pressure even the innovative Gmail to advance. Add the new Yahoo mail to the queue of advanced web applications coming soon.

March of 2005 brought Yahoo's next purchase of a fast growing web app, Flickr. The online photo sharing, storage, and social networking tool has continued to flourish under the rule of Yahoo. Users can share their photos with the world and participate in communtiy driven groups and tag their way to a better experience.

Upcoming.org is more like Evite meets Washington Post Online meets Flickr. They have embraced the ever-popular folksonomy paradigm, allowing social tagging of events and creation of groups. Upcoming has the idea of a "metro", or a geographic metropolitan area for which you are interested in events. The first thing I thought of was Andrea when I saw this site, because its a great place to announce all those little events that may normally only be announced in the City Paper.

Like the Netflix website or LiveJournal, there is a community-centric theme on Upcoming.org where you set people as friends, join groups, and actually enjoy using the site. Rather than rude information-squeezing or bombarding the user with ads, the site embraces a more open feel that we're starting to see more of on the web. They make use of popular and open technologies like RSS and iCalendar and put the information back in the hands of the users with an open API like Flickr, Craig's List, and Paypal.

On the surface it seems that this site is geared toward more public events, but in my testing it seems quite capable for personal events. Upcoming allows you to create personal venues (like your house) and personal events (like a dinner party). You can simply enter in email addresses of people you would like to invite and off goes the message. Unlike Evite, you actually see details of the event in the email message rather than being cat-herded onto a banner ad viewing site. For those (like me) that often need a gentle reminder of where they need to be and when, Upcoming offers SMS event reminders for free. In fact, free is the norm on Upcoming.org, both monetarily and philosophically. I created my account without even giving them my name!

All in all, I'd recommend adding Upcoming.org to your online toolbox. The community will ultimately drive this site and I can see a lot of improvement on the horizon. Check it out. Tell me what you think. Avoid evite like a disease.