Innovation That Matters

Social event planning with a side of local search

Work & Lifestyle

When we wrote about Marziplanner’s wedding planning software a little more than a year ago, we noted the related opportunity to devise an online version with more of a focus on the social side. As if on cue, a new site has just launched that brings social networking and Web 2.0 features to the planning of all events, nuptial or otherwise. As anyone who’s ever planned even a simple get-together knows, it just isn’t easy, what with all the calls to make, venues to find, reservations to book and schedules to coordinate. Just launched last week, Center’d aims to connect all the pieces and make it easier to plan an event of any size, including picking a place, agreeing on a time, selecting service providers, sending invites, managing volunteers, hosting and communicating. As a way to capitalize on trust, Center’d asks all users to register and interact on the site via their real names, though they can control who may see their profiles. Businesses and individuals alike can participate, making use of the site’s local search, social networking features and interactive planning tools. Users of Center’d can search for a local restaurant, read reviews, see if their friends like it and plan a get-together there, for example, all without leaving the site. Center’d also has aggregated ratings and reviews from around the web, so people can get a quick snapshot of what the general audience thinks. Polling tools help get invitees’ input on what time and place they prefer for an event, and task-management and volunteer sign-up features make it easy to coordinate who will do or bring what. Users can also browse public events in their area and add them to their own calendars, while optional calendar sharing helps friends stay on the same page. Finally, users are awarded points for all the community-serving actions they take on the site, such as reviewing a restaurant or inviting a new user to join. Soon, those points will be redeemable for “some very cool stuff,” Center’d says. Using the site is free. There are other events-focused sites out there, but the addition of Yelp-like local search, Evite-like invitations and social networking a la Facebook could set Center’d apart. The California-based site, which evolved from an earlier iteration called FatDoor, is currently in what it calls its “first draft”; how it will make money remains to be seen, but local advertising and premium features seem like a safe bet. One to bring to your local event market? Spotted by: Corie Pierce



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