If you’re a frequent user of Zvents, you’ve probably seen the new look we’ve given event listings. If you aren’t on Zvents all the time, though, you may not have noticed the change– it’s subtle, but important. Here’s a rundown.
*We’ve updated the image display box shape, and dialed in image resolution to display the largest, best-looking picture we can.
*We added thumbnails for additional images- no more clicking through “more media” links!
*We moved the Like, Tweet, Add to Calendar and other buttons off the image.
*We moved the “Edit Event” button down under the event details, and added a handy “Add Image” button.
We’re very proud of the new look. The changes are subtle, but we think they help make the pages look sleeker while still putting as many options right up front as possible. At the end of the day, this is the sort of thing that really makes Zvents hum: not just getting information out there, but really making it look good and be useful.
Zvents is giving away four tickets (two sets of two) to Broadway San Jose’s Shrek: The Musical’s special Musical Chairs Young Professionals Night in San Jose on Thursday, September 22nd!
Want to win them? Here’s how:
We’ve got two sets of tickets, and are giving away one set on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/zvents) and one on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/#!/ZVENTS). You can win either one or both sets, and winning either one isn’t going to affect the odds of you winning the other.
To enter in Twitter, tweet us (@ZVENTS) with an event you’re planning to go to and the Zvents URL (or shortened URL, like TinyURL) to the event page, and we’ll throw your name in the hat. Then we’ll randomly draw a name from all the entries we received during the entry period (more on that later), and inform you so that you can claim your winnings.
To enter on Facebook, just write on our wall at http://www.facebook.com/zvents with an event you’re planning to go to and the Zvents URL to the event page, and we’ll include you in the drawing. Then we’ll randomly draw a name from all the entries will receive during the entry period (more on that later), and inform you so that you can claim your winnings.
The entry period is from when we post this on the Facebook page and Twitter feed (they’ll be very close to each other, within minutes or even seconds), and will go until midnight on Tuesday, September 20th, PST. All entries received between posting and the deadline are eligible.
Winning! We’ll draw two winners (or, if you’re very, very lucky, the same winner twice!) on Wednesday morning and announce the winners on Twitter and Facebook. Then you’ll have three hours to claim your prize by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll announce your name, but won’t be able to tag you on Facebook, so check back! We will, however, comment on your post, so you should get a notification for that. On Twitter, we’ll @-tweet you. We’ll also try to direct message the winners on Twitter and Facebook, but depending how you have your account set up, we may not be able to. If we don’t hear back within three hours of announcing you as the winner, your entry is forfeit and we’ll draw a new winner. Don’t worry, you can play again next time we do this. Winning tickets will be at the will call booth at the San Jose Center For The Performing Arts before the show.
Restrictions: What, you thought this was easy? Since this is an event that serves cocktails, you’ll need to be over 21 to attend. The tickets you win will be good for one event (Broadway San Jose’s Shrek: The Musical’s special Musical Chairs Young Professionals Night) on one day (September 22nd, 2011) at one time (7:30 pm PST) in San Jose, so we recommend you’re local and can actually make it to the show. You’ll need to pick them up from will call, in person, before the show. If you have any other questions, email us at email@example.com.
Here in the San Francisco Bay the end of August always starts to fee a bit like fall already. It’s a short summer, but we have a long autumn and mild winter to look forward to, and around here they’re always full of neat stuff to do. Some of these events get planned months in advance, but when should they get posted on Zvents?
Well, here’s some information!
Most people start looking for stuff to do a month in advance. They don’t stop looking a month in advance, of course, but few people think ahead further than that. For promoters, this means you’ll see clicks start to pick up about 30 days out, and then steadily increase. So to get as many hits on your listing as possible, you want to make sure it’s listed well in advance of the date.
Most listings see a steady increase like a long, slow stair case with a sharp spike in the end. First, there’s that gradual increase, starting a month out and slowly climbing. On top of that, people search for events most often on Fridays and Saturdays, so those are spike days. You’ll see a low interest early on, then a spike on Friday and Saturday, and then a drop down almost as far as the week before, but not quite as far. The next week, there will be a higher spike, and a smaller fall, and hits will increase in waves.
Finally, in the last 48 hours, there’s an exponential increase in clicks on an event. It seems some people really do wait until the last minute! That’s OK- it’s exactly why we built this database. But this spike also includes all those people who marked their calendars for your event and are doing a last-minute check-in for the time and address. For both those reasons, you’ll want to have your event listing up for at least a few weeks before the event happens so links can build up and search engines can index it.
Did you know it can take a week to build outside links? Search engines index the web, and then just search through this index instead crawling the whole web in real time. As you can imagine, it can take a while to index everything! It takes Google a bit under a week, so your listing should appear in Google within five days of creating it. But it doesn’t always take that long- depending on where in the index cycle it happens to be, you could be listed much faster than that.
Zvents’ internal search engine has a much smaller database to index, so it can churn through all our listings is about two hours. If you create an event listing, it’ll be visible on the internet through a direct link right away, but it can take up to two hours to show up in search. Again, though, that’s a maximum time- it’s usually much faster.
So all things considered, you certainly want to put your listing up at least a week in advance to get all those last-minute thrill seekers, but a month is even better. And of course you can post events up to a year in advance, so don’t wait! If you’ve got an event happening any time this fall or winter, put it up as soon as you’ve nailed down the venue and the date. You can always come back later and edit it if the details change.
Since we founded Zvents in 2005, our vision has been to power the “facts” of events behind every different presentation, in every media outlet. For many of our 300+ media partners, we provide a complete application, in several different forms. Many of you are familiar with the Classic layout- it’s the one most of our partner sites use, such as the events section on SFGate.com. It’s a clean, easy to read layout that’s served Zvents faithfully for a long time, and is going strong on most of our partner sites.
Another interface you’ll be familiar with is the new layout on Zvents.com. This one has all the same content, search, and functionality, but also has a lot of neat upgrades like simplified search input, better search results and larger images all around. It started out on Zvents, and we’re getting close to deploying it on a lot of our partners. In fact, GuideLive.com in Dallas is running some beta tests for us, and wow, does it looks sharp in their colors! Go check out their beautiful new events page!
But a common platform, no matter how powerful and flexible, only gets you so far. And our vision has always been to be everywhere. So what about places that really like to mix things up on their events page, and have event listings right next to their headlines and blogs? First, we’ve got widgets, which allow partners like Richmond.com’s events page to build a really neat page, simply by mixing different Zvents widgets with their own content to make for a truly unique experience. SFGate.com’s front page is certainly more news-based (it is a front page, after all) but they have a Zvents widget called Things To Do right there on the right rail as well. Classy, understated and very, very useful.
Finally, we have our API partners. These guys use our events index and search functionality to power completely custom products which they design, giving them enormous flexibility. A prominent example of a site that uses the Zvents API is Bing.com’s events section. It looks nothing like Zvents, but delivers great user functionality in a sleek search package.
Some great examples… but these are all websites, and there’s more to ‘everywhere’ than the Web. How about the iPad? Check out TapInBayArea.com’s iPad app that we talked about in our last post. It’s a fast, sleek mobile platform for the iPad that lets you find their news content and Zvents’ event content side-by-side.
There are many, many other Zvents partners out there (over three hundred, and more every day), and they all have their own unique sites and apps. The one thing they have in common is that they all use the best events service in the world to help you find cool stuff to do.
Today I had the pleasure of testing the new TapIN Bay Area’s iPad App. The app, created by the Bay Area News Group, brings a number of their local partners to tablet form. In addition to the deals, businesses, news stories, gigs and more, the app lets you search the Zvents Media Network for things to do by tapping on a map of the area.
My first impression of the app was that it’s very pretty, and the easy zooming and dragging of the map is going to be intuitive to anyone who’s ever used an iPad. You can find details on the website, or in the Apple store.
In time, we look forward to more apps coming out from our partners focused in relevant, local and interesting entertainment and event listings.
Here’s a screen shot. Click the image to see what happens if you tap that little blue “more” arrow in the middle!
See that orange “sponsored” note in the corner of the top ad in the right rail? That’s what Sponsorship does: it gets your listing right on top!
Zvents may power over 300 newspapers and media sites across the US, and host listings for events all around the world, but we still like getting together for regular all-hands meetings and sharing some tasty Mediterranean food.
Earlier this week we had one of our lunch meetings, and Jeff (our Director of Service Operations) brought out his camera for a group photo. We thought our readers might be curious to see the faces that power event listings for 300+ newspapers and other media partners and proving that we’ve got what it takes to change the world of events.
(click the image to see it in full size)
If we look north from the 8th floor Zvents offices in San Mateo, we can see San Francisco 19 miles away, and to the south we see San Jose. We’re right between one of the famous entertainment hubs of the West Coast and the capital of Silicon Valley, the cradle of the internet. Socially, metaphorically, and geographically, that’s right where we want to be: with great things happening all around us and the internet to spread those things around the world.
But how does that affect us as a company and as people? It can be hard for us to remember that just because Outside Lands is happening right in our backyard, that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. Most people can’t just hop on their local transit system and ride into San Francisco to go see the show, and what’s more, many people don’t care. They care what’s happening in their own backyards, not in ours. Sure, sometimes it’s great to pile in a car and drive halfway across the state to be part of something big, but most days that’s not going to happen. Going down to your local park with your family, or the farmer’s market with friends this weekend, better fits the realities of your life.
To us, all these events and the people who want to do them are important. Obviously, we like things that happen in our own backyard, but we also want you to know what’s happening in yours. We’re half San Francisco, and half San Jose. Because of that, we try have events of all sizes on the Zvents network, from tiny little cafes with local bands, to huge international music festivals, from softball games to the World Series. It’s not always easy, but with San Francisco inspiring us in the north, and San Jose in the south letting us build the tools to do it, we’re succeeding. And we’re happy you’re here with us, using Zvents, posting events, giving feedback, and finding stuff to do right in your own back yard.