Crowdsourcing has become a hot VC entrepreneur topic lately based on new companies forming and demonstrations I have seen at TechCrunch50 and Demo. This has inspired me to begin building a fluid list (last updated 9/28/09) of my favorite web sites that have become well established in the search engines over the years and already have a constituency of users. These highly specialized web sites all use location based crowdsourcing techniques as a method to aggregate and publish data. There have been many success stories of horizontal based crowdsourcing platforms such as Wikipedia, eHow and Answers. However, this list highlights location based website databases that have a vertical focus and the information contained in them changes frequently. These databases are often syndicated to various partners who help curate and build upon the community database.
1) Yelp.com - Founded in 2004 by two former PayPal employees, Yelp is a local reviews website covering almost 40 states. Users write and read reviews about anything from their favorite hole in the wall restaurant to the worst downtown club. Yelp has raised $31M in venture capital and average 7M visitors per month according to Quantast.
3) GasBuddy.com - Founded in 2001, to enable drivers to help each other find the best gas prices around town. Gas Buddy was a pioneer in the crowd-sourcing space and was one of the first web sites to start the trend back in 2000. You will find Gas Buddy data syndicated to many mobile applications throughout the iPhone store and many smart phone applications. Gas Buddy averages around 400,000 visitors per month according to Quantcast.
4) SitorSquat.com - Founded in 2009 to help people around the globe find and use public restrooms easier. 66,000+ toilets in the map database and the data is syndicated out to partners. The web site averages 28,000 people per month according to Quantcast.
5) PhotoEnforced.com - Founded in 2001 to track locations and fines of red light cameras and speed cameras in the U.S. The database started with 200 locations and has grown at a 30-50% rate per year with now over 7,000 in the U.S. Europe has 40,000 locations and it appears that the U.S. has a long ways to go before this trend is over. The database is free to use for consumers and a geocoded version is licensed to navigation and map partners. The web site averages 19,000 people per month according to Quantcast.
6) DeadCellZones.com - Founded in 2001 to help carriers improve cell phone coverage at the local level. The map now has over 100,000 cell phone coverage complaints for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Femtocells & microcells seem to be the latest solution to help consumers improve coverage in dead zones. If Skype and Google Voice had their way with the FCC consumers would be happily making phone calls via VoIP in common cellular dead zone areas. The web site average 17,000 people per month according to Quantcast.
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