Why we’re building ribl — THE app for local discovery

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This post was originally published on ribl.co.

We’re embarking on a journey to provide the best way to learn about what’s happening around you and to share with others what’s going on wherever you are. That journey is embodied in a mobile app that we’re building called ribl, and we couldn’t be more excited.

What is ribl?

Ribl, which stands for “relevant info by location”, is a location-based message board mobile app where you can share and discover the most pertinent content about where you are so you’ll never miss out on what’s happening around you.

Ribl users (or “riblers”) are connected by proximity, so you can view stories from other riblers who published a post geographically close to you without having to “friend” or “follow” them.

Riblers can also “boost” the most interesting stories, which will increase the content’s geographical reach beyond the location where it was created. Additionally, a story’s geographical reach will decrease as time elapses.

Thus, the content that shows up in your ribl feed is either hyper-relevant to your current location or very highly boosted, which means it’s a big story that reached you from a distant location. This proprietary algorithm will ensure that you’ll only see the most locally-relevant and highest-impact content.

Find a great deal at a local clothing store? Post an image of the deal to ribl and everyone around you can see it and take advantage of it. Are you attending a cool event and want others in the area to know about it? Post a short video and the event info to ribl and people in the vicinity can join you. If other riblers like your posts and boost them, the geographical reach of your post increases so more people further away can see it.

Visiting a new neighborhood or city? Check out what other riblers have posted about that location to find out what’s happening.

It’s all about sharing and discovering what’s happening around you.

Why are we building this app, and what does it mean to us?

The Problem — Local Discovery and Relevance

When conceiving the idea for ribl, we asked ourselves these questions:

  1. What’s the best way to find out the most relevant information about what’s happening around us, whether we’re looking for info about local events, entertainment, deals, traffic or crime?
  2. Who are the best people to provide this info?

For (1), we really couldn’t come up with a good answer. Local blogs can provide great neighborhood-level info, but the news isn’t real-time, they don’t report on most of what’s going on in neighborhoods, and many of these sites are hard to discover. Facebook and Twitter cover the real-time aspect of happenings and events, but both aren’t always local and can be really noisy. Yelp and Foursquare are helpful to find out more about specific restaurants and retail stores, but that’s about it.

For (2), we thought that the best people to provide this information are those who live, work, eat and breathe in the neighborhood where you are. That’s pretty simple and clear.

The “Aha!” Moment

Here’s a real-life scenario that happened to me a couple of months ago that really opened my eyes for the need of ribl.

I was driving my car out of my garage in Washington DC and was stopped by the cops because four kids were getting arrested in front of my condo building (yikes!). While waiting in my car, I saw a woman across the street taking pictures of the scene and asking questions to the police officers.

I didn’t know who this woman was and had no connection to her except for our locations.

I had no idea what was going on, but she did.

I checked Twitter, Facebook, and local news sites and blogs over the next couple of days but never found out what occurred right in front of me and my building.

What if she had a place to post her pictures and what she learned about the crime scene so all of her neighbors could know what happened?

That place is ribl, and we’re building it.

Our Interest and Knowledge About Local and Location Runs Deep

Location is something in which our team has always been interested.

As a marketer, I always believed that location was one of the most important determinants of relevance. At my time working for the Washington Capitals, I frequently leveraged location data to target our fans, whether they were at home, at work, or in the arena, to deliver the most pertinent deals and messaging. On the personal front, as a city lover and foodie, I’ve always been interested in local events, new restaurant openings, and hidden neighborhood gems in DC, New York City, San Francisco and any other city I’ve lived in or visited but never found a good way to find out about this info.

Our co-founder, Jeff Thorn, has been developing mobile and location-based technologies for almost two decades. Jeff was instrumental in building the location-based advertising platform for Nokia’s Here, which delivers relevant coupons and advertisements to tens of millions of users based on their locations. His expertise is deep and perfect for what we’re building.

And Dan, our developer, has been working on location-based technologies for years. He was crucial to integrating location tracking and content delivery for many clients’ mobile apps and has worked with the latest GPS and beacon technologies to achieve the highest level of relevance and targeting.

Now is the Time

With the excellent technological capabilities of today’s smartphones, location is surely becoming one of the most reliable and accurate sources of relevance for users. This technology combined with the local knowledge of cities’ inhabitants can change the way we learn about the places we work, play, and live.

Now is the time for ribl. We’re building it and we hope you come along for the ride.

We’re looking for beta testers so if you’re interested in helping us, please sign up for our mailing list or email me at mike@ribl.co. And if you like what you just read, please share it with your friends and contacts.



Written by

Dad and husband! Growing @meter_io and @utu_trust. #crypto, #startup, ex-marketer @capitals, power napper

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