Search and alert service Yotify has entered the scene with a wide-reaching value proposition to do the legwork in finding people, places and events for you.
On one level, it’s similar to a lot of aggregators we’ve seen, like Oodle, that scrape together listings from many sources to create one-stop-shop appeal to users. In Oodle’s case, it’s classifieds, and there are other examples in other verticals. Google Alerts also does this for news or keywords on the Web.
Yotify seems to be trying to take it a step further by having all kinds of things you can search for across many categories, classifieds, product info, people, etc. This is mostly built on the concept of alerts, wherein users are notified when things are found that meet their criteria. Alerts can be powerful tools if used correctly, because a lot can be said about users who have specified exactly what they are looking for and the fact that they want it sent to them.
With product queries, for example, a lot can be implied about someone’s buying intent or place in the purchase funnel, if he or she is at the point of setting up an alert (i.e., “tell me when this flat screen television dips below $X”). That’s compared with search behavior that can imply intent to some degree but is sometimes clouded by all the other things someone can be searching for (i.e., early stage product research).
The problem, however, is that anytime you ask users to do anything — fill out a registration, set up an alert, etc., — it can stand as an adoption barrier. There is a drop off in usage whenever that happens, and you end up with a limited set of early adopters or power users who generally sign up for anything.
Yotify’s wide-reaching value proposition for finding people, places, events, products, etc., could also prove to be a double-edged sword; it could have broad appeal, but it could also be a difficult story to tell in terms of a concrete value proposition to any one user.
Lastly, there is a certain amount of fatigue involved for average users about how many online accounts they can have (banking, social networking, e-mail, etc). Asking people to sign up for and manage another service is always tough, especially when it involves users breaking deep-rooted ways of doing things. Then again, one of its use cases — sending out alerts for bargain shopping — could resonate well in the current economic climate.
If Yotify can pull all this together and get past the requisite first step of gaining enough user traction, there could be some monetization potential in serving geotargeted product ads or promotions that are specifically targeted toward users’ alerts. This could then develop into a lead generation engine, with enough users, given that people setting up alerts are more likely to have buying intent than casual Web searchers.