CityCita offers free and open meetups

CityCita is a service opening for public use today that lets you organize groups and meetings for free and within an open classification system. Will that be enough to differentiate this European version of The free part may be, but even that only goes so far.

CityCita is a Paris and London based company that we’ve written about previously after a first peek at the private beta. The company tells me it’s been two years in development. Now that the site is going public, I have to admit I’m underwhelmed. The basic functionality appears solid and the price is good so I’m sure it will fill many peoples’ needs if marketed well. Go give it a look for yourself, maybe you’ll like it more than I do.

As far as I’m concerned, marketing of the service so far has not been good. In early outreach to bloggers, the company said in May that it was planning to launch with the following features: Flickr photo sets for each group (done, good), integration for file storage (not done, and will be Amazon S3 instead), Eventful and Google Base automated submission of events (not yet), hcal microformats for all events (later). If those features fall into place then I’ll be more interested.

CityCita emphasizes that their groups can be classified by any term or tag determined by organizers, instead of being limited to a finite number of categories determined by the service. That’s nice, but not a big deal. Tags may be the new hotness, but for mass adoption of an events system I imagine many people want a clear category tree. CityCita does have categories as well as tags.

Also falling under the “not such a big deal” category, the service says it is unique in its support for “geolocation.” All that appears to mean is that the address I enter for an event gets tagged on a map and I’m given the option of searching Yahoo Local. Maps are only available for the US, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan.

The service is even free only to group organizers who limit themselves to creating one group. Removing ads and having greater customization options will run you $9/month or $49/year. That’s cheaper than, but Meetup offers customer service, has a large established infrastructure and as they said when they started charging fees – “you get what you pay for.”

If CityCita can do a good job marketing and add on those promised features, perhaps the company will do well. Maybe they can create a smoother user experience than Meetup. Perhaps people in particular countries will prefer using this to the US based I’m not holding my breath on this one though.