Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]
Finding things to do in your own city isn’t always easy. Finding things to do on the cheap is next to impossible. Sure, if you Google something like “Free things to do in San Francisco”, you’ll probably find a bunch of a spam pages and perhaps a somewhat helpful blog post from 2009. You have to do all of the research to find out whether the prices listed or activities they wrote about are still available or not. It’s quite a pain.
RAVN sets out to make finding these activities an easy process, and a social one at that. The service that I found to be most similar to RAVN is Trazzler, but there are way more things to do listed in RAVN’s database, which makes it an attractive alternative.
Not only can you find free things to do in your area, you can get deals directly from event organizers and local tours, and even earn points to use towards these.
Right now, the service is only available in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, SF Bay Area, and Washington DC. Cities like Boston, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia are on the way, the site promises.
Free, free, free!
The RAVN site itself is free of course, and as soon as you sign up with your Facebook account you’re shown a whole list of things in your area to mark off as being done or as things you want to do. This gives the service an idea of what types of activities to recommend to you, and even gives you points while doing it. As you tell the service each thing you’ve done and rate the activity, you’ll get points towards paid activities listed on the site.
RAVN does a brilliant job getting you into the spirit of what they’re trying to do, which is to get you excited about activities happening in your neck of the woods. By giving you points towards discounts on paid activities, that’s icing on the cake.
Once you’ve gotten tired of cycling through activities, you can skip ahead and find things that interest you, based on price, location, and availability. That’s a huge feature advantage for RAVN, because with our busy schedules, finding things to do isn’t always the problem, it’s finding the time that you can do them that is.
Activities on RAVN are categorized from things like “Date Ideas” to “Family Friendly”, so you’re more than likely going to find at least one new activity that fits your lifestyle. If you’d rather use an open search box for an activity, RAVN offers that option as well.
The social aspect of RAVN also makes for a fascinating experience. The service pushes up things that your friends on Facebook who use the service also want to do or have done. Who knew that Liz Gannes was interested in learning how to handle hot glass? Ouch.
RAVN’s search experience is pretty impressive, and makes finding the perfect experience rather simple. Based on availability and price, you can granurlarly find the best activity for you. I was able to find quite a few free San Francisco tours that I knew nothing about before trying the site.
The service is currently in private beta, but if you use the code TNW, you can jump the line. It’s a great way for local businesses to get on the local radar as a new hot spot. Something like a free tour of a chocolate factory could make for memories that you never thought you’d have before.
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