The world needs a better understanding of what events are taking place and to find a way to coordinate with each other to see who they want to meet up. Plancast was probably going to be that. Started by former TechCrunch writer, Mark Hendrickson, and Jay Marcyes, there was some great hope for the startup, but somehow it just never managed to gain traction past the tech startup scene. The idea was simple: if you wanted to find out what events were happening around the city or state you were living in, you could just look up Plancast and find the information you want. The beauty was that it wasn’t just idle promotion by startups, but rather events that were curated by friends and people you think are interesting. I won’t write up a review of the site because I’ve already done it before. However, in the end, it seemed that the service’s adoption was never meant to be and Mr. Hendrickson penned a beautiful post on TechCrunch explaining his unfortunate decision.
But today is the dawn of a new day with Plancast, as rumors have started to grow that the event service has been recently acquired by The Active Network, and has finally been relaunched with a brand new design and a whole heck of a lot more features. That’s right folks…your favorite event calendar service is back and badder than ever! No word yet on the acquisition deal but it might not be much…judging from who The Active Network is, they probably would have spent a few million on the deal? From what I can gather, the acquisition went down in the Spring of this year and is being entirely run by The Active Network–the founders have all since departed for greener pastures, with Mr. Hendrickson, himself, leading the product charge at Obvious’s Lift startup. If you take a look at the Plancast site now, you’re going to see much more emphasis on the outdoors and active events compared to something much more tech focused.
The homepage of Plancast now shows you more features and reasons why you should use the service. Some might wonder if it’s going to take a more proactive approach to challenging Eventbrite or other ticket management services–I sometimes wonder why Eventbrite didn’t acquire Plancast when it had the chance (it would have made for an ideal integration, in my opinion). All your favorite features are still there: you can still add your event information the same way as you did before and also “Count yourself in” to events. But now, from a curation standpoint, you can now import events from various sites like Eventbrite, Mogotix, Eventbee, Facebook, and many others easily through a link extraction feature that will allow you to port the information in a way you won’t have to worry about. As an added bonus, you can throw in a logo (JPEG/PNG) to customize your site.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of hosting events on Plancast is that you can configure your event to allow users to upload and share photos and multimedia from your event on the listing. You can share YouTube videos, photos, and even Slideshare–so for those of you at conferences who want to appeal to people to attend, you can share your slides ahead of time or post-event so people can view them. Don’t worry, if you’re afraid of unwanted media being posted, the new Plancast has a feature that enables moderation. You’re good. But if you require payment for your events ahead of time, don’t abandon Plancast just to use another service that offers this feature. Plancast now partners with RegOnline so that you can do payment collection, agendas, etc.
Mobile is also going to be a big part of Plancast as well. You might remember that when the service first rolled out, it was difficult to get events on your mobile device and as far as the service got was making it mobile HTML friendly. Well, The Active Network is picking that back up and dumping more resources into it–while still a work in progress (we’ve heard that before), Plancast will soon launch a mobile application that will help you locate activities and event media around you (perhaps using geo-location and recommendations?) along with enabling you to push content and media to the events you’re at. Truly it will be your event coverage anywhere you want at any time.
So who is The Active Network, exactly? Well they’re a publicly-traded company based in San Diego, CA whose mission is to “make the world a more active place”. According to their website, they have “deep expertise in activity and participant management whose ActiveWorks cloud technology transforms the way customers manage their events and activities.” They’re already doing some phenomenal stuff for large conferences like Cisco, sporting events for the United States Tennis Association and the Little League, not to mention the National Park Service and other organizations eager to get people engaged and active outside. Seems that the acquisition of Plancast was only a logical fit into the grand scheme of things.
Don’t worry, with the redesign, all your events are still in the system along with your login credentials. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Plancast in the future and whether their effort has helped move Plancast away from just being tech-focused to drawing in more mainstream users to truly make this the main de facto social calendar.
Tip from Jay Cuthrell.
Image Credits: All images via Plancast.