ILM East: Eventbrite, Goby and How Social Media Transforms Events

Events and “recreational discovery” are being transformed by social media, as evidenced by the development of Eventbrite, a new ticketing platform, and Goby, which helps consumers find things to do, including travel.

Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz noted that his company, founded in 2006, produced gross ticket sales “approaching a half billion dollars” plus thousands of free events. The company recently provided tickets for Shamrock Fest, an Irish festival at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. This summer, it is going to provide tickets for a 65,000 ticket event.

Hartz noted that the new era is marked less by search, which he describes as algorithmic discovery,m as by social discover via “shares” from friends, colleagues or others with tastemaker authority.Every Facebook share of a music concert is worth $12 in sales. Facebook is by far the most influential for sales; Twitter is #3 and LinkedIn is #5. “The local proximity of friends is the prevailing thesis here,”says Hartz.

The company’s current focus on events, ticketing and registration is a possible precursor for other verticals. “Events are naturally social,” noted Hartz. Events, ticketing and registration are a precursor to other verticals. Event are naturally social. Attend with friends or professional events with colleagues or people they admire.

Goby CEO Mark Watkins, meanwhile, noted that his company’s focus on recreational experiences in 350 categories is underappreciated. “A lot of focus on the restaurant space, but the experience is important too. He noted that it is sometimes more effective than other means for discovery. Local search, social networks, travel sites and mobile all have their own issues that keep them from being ideal, he said.

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