Twitter Investor Backs Celebrity-Tracking Site
Celebrities beware: Your every move beyond the gates of your home is about to be tracked -- even more so than usual.
A website called JustSpotted.com launches Tuesday that inform users where each of the 7,000 celebrities that make up its database have been seen last, anywhere in the world.
The site gets the whereabouts of celebs via a relationship with Twitter that gives it access to public tweets, which usually number 50 million a day. Proprietary technology uses "natural-language" filters to figure out which tweets pertain to celebrity sightings.
"We've been working very closely with Twitter for two years," JustSpotted founder and CEO AJ Asver said. "We're one of a handful of companies that has that sort of relationship with them."
In fact, Ron Conway, an early investor in Twitter, Facebook and Google, also has invested in JustSpotted.
To a lesser degree, Facebook and Foursquare postings also will be used by JustSpotted to ferret out celebrities.
But Asver said JustSpotted is not as Orwellian as it might seem at first blush because it operates by aggregating information that's already publicly available.
The "celebrity friendly" site is about fans making a psychological connection with their favorite celebrities rather than a physical one, he said.
Stalking, in other words, is discouraged.
"We're not asking people to change their behavior," Asver said. "The information isn't real-time enough for you to run over there and see them."
JustSpotted won't provide addresses of the whereabouts of celebrities but enough information -- like a restaurant's name, city and virtual pinpoint on a map -- for users to easily glean such information.
Beyond providing geographic locations, the site will aggregate news stories about celebs organized by their names.
"Nobody else is doing that," Asver said. "We're super excited about it."
He said he has "a huge list" of ways to monetize the site, including striking deals with celebrities to promote their movies, TV shows, concerts and the products they endorse.
"But our primary goal right now is user growth," Asver said.
Beyond Conway, other investors include Y Combinator, Avalon Ventures and Michael Birch, who founded Bebo and sold it to AOL for $800 million.