Launching today, BlockAvenue from Cambridge, MA. plans to take on the literal world of location based everything. They have utilized a massive amount of data points to give the user an actual interpretation of a real neighborhood. It has a powerful potential when it can be used by the public to determine the value or lack thereof regarding their neighborhood or potential neighborhood. Tony Longo, Founder of BlockAvenue, has the ambition to take this company to the public with a necessary product that provides real value in daily use. It’s engaging, interactive and informative, and that is a rare thing of value.
“Using BlockAvenue is very easy. The process starts by searching for any location: a city, town, neighborhood, intersection, street or even an alleyway. From there, consumers are able to zoom in and focus down into specific areas to see the makeup and score of the location. Consumers are also able to vote and comment on individual data points such as transit stops, coffee shops and grocery stores. Or, they could take a more thorough approach and write a full BlockReview on why an area is great…or not so great.”
After a beta review of the product, I see that this potential and the ease of use are extremely valuable. I can travel and have a full view of the place I am staying and the types of businesses I would like to visit, such as restaurants, hotels, where to get gas, and what areas I should avoid due to crime statistics. I enjoyed really zooming into the circles that provided more information, or would clearly provide it at some point. Interactive public engagement will make this product a travel or moving necessity.
The potential to ‘game’ the system with reviews that are overly positive causes concern. These reviews must be heavily monitored for pushing the system. A rental company or real estate agent could potentially push their areas of sales with a spin that is not necessarily true. Consider the Yelp review process, and how it has affected business? Or maybe even the Foursquare review process? Does it help you; do you mistrust someone’s opinion? User experience and reviews will be the icing on the cake. The BlockAvenue team has a busy road ahead, in order to monitor and control the system from being manipulated and used for its intended location user experience.
Within BlockAvenue, I can review the area in which I live; giving you informed thoughts on local tourist attractions, wineries or hotels. I can say what neighborhoods are good for real estate, schools and my personal experiences can show you good or bad about my neighborhood. You can do that for me also.
This is geo-location with actual real time value from BlockAvenue. Because they are in beta, the little things still need to be ironed out. I found that a ‘sex offender’s’ information loaded, but it grabbed the closest geo-location that had a photo, and it happened to be a local business, which can cause an unpopular business experience when the two show up together. I believe time will iron out those sorts of minor kinks in the system and provide a greater user experience.
The big thing for this type of company is definitely mobile application. Using BlockAvenue on the go is an absolute must. According to Community Manager, Sara Bendetson, it’s definitely coming, possibly within this year, and it should. It must, this is a mobile user application well beyond the web.
This is a really cool product from an inventive founder and definitely worth your time. Enjoy the experience!
Read BlockAvenue’s official press release.
BlockAvenue is a location-based analytics company focused on providing consumer an intuitive platform to help them understand everything there is to know about a location. The company leverages more than 50 data points such as crime, sex offenders, transit options, local amenities, restaurants, schools and a propriety social layer to provide its BlockScore across the United States. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA and operates out of DogPatch Labs, a technology incubator operated by Polaris Venture Partners.