Announcing Placecast Match API, a Rosetta Stone for Location-Based Companies to Monetize More Effectively

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WCities, Socialight, Urban Mapping, and Buzzd all Trial Customers

An open accurate data set is the first key to unlocking location-based advertising. Similar to interoperability between carriers, an open system drives scale for reaching more consumers and in turns enables consumers reach their advertiser destination

Placecast, creator of the most scalable, proven, location-based marketing platform currently available, today announced that they are opening up their Match API for free to the location-based ecosystem. Using this free tool enables location content providers and location-based application developers to refer to a location in any number of ways, and validate that those references resolve to one true location on the planet. Placecast's Match API is aimed at resolving the time consuming and complex problem of correcting location data that creates little inherent value, so that LBS companies can focus on improving their services and attracting marketing spend.

Location-based companies such as WCities, Socialight, Urban Mapping, and Buzzd have expressed interest in the capability and have begun testing the open web services API. Like a Rosetta Stone for location data, these services can use Placecast's Match API to translate between different reference systems and correctly identify a location, regardless of the ID system.

"Messy local data has been a problem online for years, which is now bleeding into mobile," said Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence and an analyst Opus Research. "Cleaning up and correcting listings and POI data will help the entire location-based ecosystem."

"Matching our City Guide, Movie Guide and Event Guide listing data to multiple sources is a significant issue for us. There are lots of different ID systems and ways of referring to a place," says Fraser Campbell, CEO of premium content provider WCities. "We're excited about Placecast's Match API because it will free up resources that are spent matching POI data in our system to do more value-added work tied to the actual location."

Enabling everyone in the location-based ecosystem to seamlessly identify places on the planet is the first building block to generating revenue from location-based advertising. On mobile phones, in order to direct a consumer to a store, deliver a site-specific promotion, or tailor a marketing message based on place and time, the first step is to correctly refer to the place in question.

The key to location-based advertising media buy is accuracy of data.

"Retailers in the US today spend $23 billion a year to drive traffic into their stores, and we believe that 10% of this budget belongs in mobile in the next two years. Placecast solved this location referencing problem and is pleased to make it available for free to other companies working on generating revenue from location-based services as we will all benefit from attracting marketing spend to the space," says Alistair Goodman, CEO at Placecast.

At the SXSW conference this month, panels that included Twitter, Loopt and Google discussed the difficulty of managing multiple location data sets. "Removing the pain point of matching data from different providers, and validating user check-ins, has been a stumbling block to monetizing with advertising," says Dan Melinger, CEO of social location company Socialight.

Unlike proprietary ID schemes, which limit a company to referring to locations with one specific scheme, Placecast's Match API enables companies working with location data to use any (or multiple) ID system and resolve to one true location on the planet.

The Placecast Match API resolves the two worst problems of working with large location-based data sets. First, it disambiguates addresses - identifying that all of the different ways to express the address of a location do in fact refer to the same place on the planet. Second, it maps all the relevant IDs from different content providers to that same place on the planet, so that it is always referred to correctly by any other system. The system has already been pressure-tested for scale: the Placecast Match API has been in place for more than a year and has already processed millions of location records worldwide.

"Location-based services are exploding from a consumer adoption perspective, leading to a variety of competing location databases ranging in accuracy and quality. The market needs a translation tool like Placecast's Match API," states Nihal Mehta, CEO of social location company Buzzd.

"An open accurate data set is the first key to unlocking location-based advertising. Similar to interoperability between carriers, an open system drives scale for reaching more consumers and in turns enables consumers reach their advertiser destination," concludes Goodman.

Companies interested in learning more can visit http://placecast.net/placecastmatch.html
About Placecast

Placecast is the first location-based platform specifically designed to use digital marketing on mobile to drive consumers into physical environments.

Placecast's ShopAlerts service has transformed the location-based industry within the first few months of its launch, demonstrating that mainstream brands like the North Face, Sonic and American Eagle are embracing location-based mobile marketing. ShopAlerts took home the top prize given out by the National Retail Federation known as the 2010 RACIE Award as well as finalist distinctions for best mobile marketing technology by top global and U.S. wireless organizations such as the GSMA and CTIA E-Tech Awards. The company recently raised $8 million in Series B funding from Quatrex Capital and existing investors ONSET Ventures, and Voyager Capital.

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Rachael Himsel
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