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Fans looking to run into a few celebrities would be wise to hang out at Los Angeles International Airport and the Grove, an outdoor mall adjacent to L.A.’s famed Farmers Market.
That’s the advice from JustSpotted.com, a Web site that launched in October to some controversy because its goal — deemed a bit Orewellian by some — is to track the geographical whereabouts of famous people.
The site uses the public Twitter feed and other information from various social networks to keep tabs on celebrities when they are out in public, and it starts this week to use a new technology that will make for more precise tracking. More on that in a bit.
First, more about the top places that celebrities frequent. JustSpotted said LAX is by far the place where they are seen most, and the Grove, where 100 stars have been spotted since the site went live Oct. 19, is second.
Some of the notable sightings at LAX include Britney Spears and Kourtney Kardashian, whose pat-down by airport security personnel was photographed and became part of the news cycle. Sightings at the Grove included Michael Phelps, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber.
Rounding out the top 5 hottest places for spotting celebrities in the past eight weeks were Katsuya restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. (Will Ferrell, Janet Jackson), the Dorchester hotel in London (Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake), Madeo restaurant in L.A. (Avril Lavigne, Sofia Vergara) and La Esquina restaurant in New York (Jay-Z, Christina Aguilera).
As for new technology that JustSpotted will start using, it’s dubbed Celebrity Radar, and it allows visitors to type in the address of a location and see a list of the celebrities who have been there, and when they were there, for the past several weeks.
That’s a significant upgrade for tourists who are “looking to follow in the footsteps of celebrities,” CEO A.J. Asver said. Prior to Celebrity Radar, the site’s big draws have been a constant stream of pop-up photos alerting users where various stars were last seen, and a feature for searching by stars’ names, but not by location.
Asver also said an iPhone application is in the works, so folks standing outside a club or restaurant can easily find out who has been seen there recently — or even if there is anybody famous there at that very moment.
Asver and his company took some heat when the site first launched, including from some celebrities who went on TV news and gossip shows to blast the concept, and from Twitter, which stopped providing customized data to JustSpotted.
The site now uses Twitter data that is publicly available, and Asver said no stars have complained with horror stories of stalking, or whatever, due to information obtained from JustSpotted.
In fact, said Asver, some lesser-known entertainers have contacted him to ask that they be included among the 7,000 famous people that JustSpotted tracks. And next year, JustSpotted will give those tracked — and their publicity people — the ability to update the site themselves with news, reviews, upcoming appearances and what have you. It’s all part of Asver’s goal to keep the site “celebrity friendly,” as opposed to something they should fear, he said.
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