Place Detection In Comments launched discussions (aka comments) quietly last week but they did something in the process that I think is even more important. They’ve built a place detection system and the first place they are using it is in their discussions.

We’ve been discussing whether Webster Hall or Music Hall Of Williamsburg is the best place to see the Mountain Goats when they are in town soon. If you click on that link and scroll down to the last reply of mine, you’ll see that it detected four clubs, Northsix (which is no more), Music Hall Of Williamsburg (which replaced Northsix), Webster Hall, and Bowery Ballroom. I didn’t have to do anything to make that place detection happen.

What I like about this is that when I am at the place page for Bowery Ballroom you’ll see that discussion, even though it started out as a discussion on Music Hall Of Williamsburg.

Comments are the source of great insight and we leave them in silos. That must change. And place detection is one good way to do that.

Here are two posts, one from Steven Johnson and one from John Geraci, the two founders of, talking about discussions and the thinking that went into the design of them.

#NYC#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Guest

    Hey Fred, this is a total rip off from, which has been doing this for almost a year. The main difference is people enter and verify the “places” in the discussion, then Chow adds in the data matching to make it more relevant. Doing place matching through text matching is going to be limiting and a long term data issue for them. Check out Chow’s Places:…I would also have your guys come up with a different name at least. I know that Dylan said “still a little and they throw you in jail, still a lot and they make you king”, but geez. 😉

    1. Steven Johnson

      Hey Tatum, if you look at our approach, you’ll see that we do both manual place entry *and* text matching. We’re finding that this is the best balance between convenience and accuracy for our users (and for our database.)As far as the name goes, we have been aggregating blog content to dedicated Place pages in our system since March of last year. I have no idea when Chow launched their place pages but even if they did come out with them after did, it would never occur to me that they would be “ripping off” our terminology, given how basic a word “place” is…Steven from