Sometimes you want to go out, but aren’t sure what’s going on in your city that would interest you. SeatGeek, the ticket search engine for live events, is launching an event discovery engine today called Columbus that helps you find concerts, sporting events, and live shows in your area. It is a “Pandora for live events” says SeatGeek co-founder Jack Groetzinger.
You train Columbus by telling it 4 or 5 bands and sports teams you like then it produces a calendar of events filled with its recommendations. It is all tied to upcoming events in SeatGeek’s database, so the calendar keeps updating all the time. You can buy tickets as well. If it shows you something you don’t like, you can tell it and it won’t show you the same performer or sports team again. The recommendations get better over time as the algorithm learns more about your preferences.
SeatGeek developed its own recommendation algorithm using its data, along with data from Hunch and Last.fm. (This is exactly the kind of app Hunch was hoping to support with its Taste Graph API before it was bought by eBay). For people who sign in with Facebook Connect, it learns your preferences from your Facebook profile as well. It also shows you events your friends are going to on the calendar.
SeatGeek is a search engine for tickets, so people really only go there occasionally when they already know what they want to do. Groetzinger hopes that Columbus will get them coming more often to discover new events (and then buy the tickets from SeatGeek). Discovery and commerce go hand in hand, so the better that SeatGeek’s recommendations are, the more tickets it should sell.