Tag Archives: toronto

People Are Good Story, My Experience Last Night

Last night landed in Toronto. Went to the car rental place and grabbed a Buick. Realized I did not want the Buick, so switched to a Ford. Left airport for a dinner meeting at The Keg. Get to the restaurant, realize my wallet is not with me. Then it hits me, I left it on the passenger seat in the Buick.

Now I am f%&ked – id, credit cards, etc. gone. If I can’t get back, how do I check into the hotel. How do I get back on a flight to Calgary. Lots of questions, all my answers in my wallet.

Go back to the Airport Car Rental, hoping the car is still there. It is not. It was rented. National Rent a Car calls the customer – turns out he is staying at a hotel close to the Airport and has my wallet. He was a Canada Post employee. He is going to drive it back to the Airport Car Rental place and return to me.

Wallet comes back. Tried to give the guy money for his trouble, he refuses (tells me to donate the money to charity). We chuckle about the fact that we are both Super Elite, Starwood Platinum, AMEX cardholders, National Elite, etc. Apparently we are very similar. National Rent-A-Car pays one night of his car rental for helping me out. That is pretty cool.

Morale of the story – when you pick a car, stick with it.

Groupon Hits $1M in Gross Revenue in Canada

Groupon - Daily Deals - Canada - Toronto - VancouverChicago based Groupon which started selling its daily deals in Canada on April 19 in Toronto and on April 26 in Vancouver has hit the $1M in gross revenues over this past weekend (Saturday morning roughly). This is according to my tracking document and not an official release from the company.

Some other interesting facts about their first 2-months in Canada:

Toronto represents 51% of their Groupons Sold, while Vancouver is at 49% of the total sales volume
In terms of gross revenues, Toronto is 52.6%, Vancouver at 47.4% of gross revenue.
In terms of savings to consumers – Groupon has saved consumers $1.56M during this time.

With respect to ComScore traffic, they started to register in February of this year and are a good upward trend, breaking the 200K UV mark in May.

Groupon - Comscore - Media Tracking

Are Canadians Checking In?

There is no doubt about it, if you follow the online local space that Check-In is “In” for 2010. A recent article on Mashable, “Foursquare’s Growth Not Slowing Down: 725,000 Users, 22 Million Checkins” definitely proves the point for this 1-year old startup organization.

In February I did a post on my FourSquare experience that you can read on my initial experiences and the impact on local.

A couple of days, one of my work colleagues, Mohamed Kahlain, follow him on Twitter, sent me the link to CheckIn Mania, a mashup that features checkins from FourSquare, GoWalla and Britekite. This was originally posted on Mashable.

In a nutshell what CheckIn Mania does is allows you to enter any city, click on the map and select a business. Once you select a business you can see who is the mayor of that place + how many checkins to that business and any tips. You also have the ability to select the “Search by Map” which is a neat feature that allows you to move the map and the locations update as opposed to updating the locations by click.

Here is the screenshot with one of my favorite restaurants (of which I am in the Mayor in Calgary) called Spicy Hut.

Check In Mania for Calgary and Spicy Hut

It is no secret that any of the location based services listed above have the highest penetration in major US markets like San Francisco and New York, but what about Canada?

Are Canadians checking in?

So I decided to spot check some businesses in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal to see how active Canadian’s are. I decided to focus on Restaurants. My selection criteria for which restaurants and spas to choose was as following, In Google I did a local search and selected business #3 in their 7-pack. In YellowPages.ca, I selected the #8 business and in Yelp.ca I selected business #6. This would give me a random sample of businesses. I also limited this to FourSquare as this is the most popular check-in service.

Here are my findings.

Vancouver Restaurants:
C Restaurant (selected from Google) – 9 checkins
Tojo’s Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 33 checkins
Top Of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant (selected from Yellowpages.ca) – 17 checkins

Calgary Restaurants
Calgary Marriott Hotel (selected from Google) – 21 checkins
Capo Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 5 checkins
Karma Fine Indian Cuisine (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 2 checkins

Toronto Restaurants
Bistro 990 Restaurant (selected from Google, this is actually listing #4) – 11 checkins
Pomegranate Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 8 checkins
The Real Jerk (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 34 checkins

Montreal Restaurants
Restaurant Toqué (selected from Google) – 5 checkins
Santos (selected from Yelp, actually #8) – 40 checkins
Arahova Souvlaki (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 15 checksin

The only thing that surprised me about the above results is Toronto. I would have expected to Toronto to come in closer to Montreal in terms of checkins because of population concentration and smartphone penetration. However, this might be a result of the fact that Toronto does not have the density of Montreal (land mass to population size), which might also explain why Vancouver is more comparative to Montreal. Calgary actually holds it own, relative to its population size and the fact that Calgary.

Although comparatively to the US, Canada is not at the 1/10 rule (see some US results below), it is pretty clear to me that Canadians in the large urban markets have started to embrace checkin. This group, like in the US, are the ones at the start of the product curve and the big question going forward is whether checkin services will hit mass adoption.

How does this compare to the top US cities. Here are the results for San Francisco and New York using the same process as above. I used YellowPages.com as the 3rd source.

San Francisco Restaurants
Zuni Cafe (selected from Google) – 459 checkins
R & G Lounge (selected from Yelp) – 296 checkins
Cote Sud (selected from YellowPages.com) – 6 checkins

New York Restaurants
Spring Street Natural Restaurant (selected from Google) – 495 checkins
La Sirene (selected from Yelp) – 52 checksin
Serendipity 3 (selected from YellowPages.com) – 236 checkins

Revisiting my Yellow Pages Answers Interview on CP24

I was updating my personal profile within Google today and adding links to the various videos that I have been part of lately. One in particular was my interview with Omar Sachedina of CP24 on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 for the Yellow Pages Answers services, business category data provided by YellowPages.ca. Here is a replay of my video interview with Omar Sachedina:

Related to the answers service, I also wanted to take this opportunity to highlight just how easy it is to get started using Yellow Pages Answers. Before are some screenshots:

First – you will want to visit Answers.YellowPages.ca or if you are french speaking, you will want to visit Reponses.PagesJaunes.ca.

You will notice that the service starts with welcoming you and immediately gives you access to the Answers Help along with a box to post your first question. Before you can start posting a question, look to your right under “Options” and select join.

Yellow Pages Answers Join

Second – you have two options to join the answers service, using your Facebook Account or signing up for a new account.

Yellow Pages Answers Join Screen via Facebook or Set-up a New Account

Most users select the signin using your facebook account. If you select this option, you will be presented with the following:

Yellow Pages Answers Facebook Connect Login

If you don’t already have a facebook account, to set-up your own account on Answers is simply. Fill in email, username and password and agree to the terms of use. From there you will get an email confirmation, click on that and you are finished.

Yellow Pages Answers Sign Up for a New Account

Third – you are finished. Now you can start to post and respond to questions within Answers

This service is a great way to solicit recommendations from your social network or people with the answers network. I did a post back in July on the most unique questions asked using Answers service, many of which now have answers to them.

If you have used the answers service and would like to comment or have suggestions, please post to my comments section or send me an email directly to dsieben … @ … gmail … .com ….