Adam and Jason Spencer, co-founders of StreetAdvisor.com, took some time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions about the services they offer on their Web site. StreetAdvisor combines the popularity of mapping services and social networking and allows people to find quality information about what it's like to live on any particular street in over 26 countries.
According to Adam:
"The core of StreetAdvisor revolves around Street Reviews. So, people can jump online, find their street, write a review, and we have 26 scoring factors. We break them [scoring factors] into categories, and in those categories we have little subcategories [for] the way people might want to rate their street — for example, noise, crime, and all sorts of things like this that people can rate their street on. This is the kind of information that you really can't find anywhere short of knocking on people's doors and asking them face-to-face."
StreetAdvisor, which is currently in beta, is building its community from the ground up. Of course, with any database, you have to start somewhere. Since Adam and Jason are banking on UGC (user-generated content), they are offering a lot of incentives to people, including a local expert program where people gain a lot of exposure for providing content to the site.
Jason admits that it takes a long time to build up critical massive content when you're dealing with user-generated content and social media. However, he says people are already using the site as a due diligence tool. "There's still value in the site, even if your street may not have been rated [yet]." Jason adds:
"I really believe that the key is making sure that you've got patience capital, and that's something that we do have. We're not venture capital funded — so private investments — and we're here for a long time, because we know it's going to take that long to generate a site that has every single street in the world with some information on it from the people who live there."
Personally, I've spent the majority of my life hopping from apartment to condo to house. After living in Louisville, KY, for the first 10 years, I counted 12 different places that I had lived during that time (watch out incentive program, here I come). However, if StreetAdvisor had existed way back then, I certainly wouldn't have moved into over half of those places. Do you find value in StreetAdvisor's offerings?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.