SideStep Acquires Travel Social Network TripUp

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tripup.jpgTravel search company SideStep has acquired social networking site TripUp for an undisclosed sum.

TripUp is a social network focused on travel and includes user-generated travel blogs, photos, videos, maps, and travel reviews.

SideStep had previously acquired user generated hotel ratings site TravelPost.com in October 2006.

I spoke with SideStep CEO Rob Solomon prior to the announcement. Solomon sees the acquisition of TripUp as SideStep moving towards becoming a data intensive network; SideStep wants to become the leader in online travel related information.

Solomon said that SideStep has a social networking strategy in place that as well as utilizing TripUp also includes Facebook.

SideStep already has two Facebook applications. The Trips Facebook application provides a trip planning service that currently has over 150,000 users. Extended Info allows users to add fields and categories of their own choice to a Facebook profile. SideStep is already developing a Facebook App for TripUp that should be launched later in the year.

I pushed Solomon on the question of what SideStep gets out of Facebook, given the still lingering questions over many Facebook apps that seemingly lack any coherent business model. SideStep sees Facebook as a customer acquisition vehicle. Solomon noted that although it is still early days in terms of what they are doing on Facebook, the company had already had over 1000 solid leads from their two Facebook apps, and expect this figure to rise rapidly as they improve their cross promotion strategies.

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