Spanish MitMi fills in Facebook Events' gaps

MADRID -- Application MitMi dramatically improves upon Facebook Events through segmentation and customization.
Written by Jennifer Riggins, Contributor

MADRID--Many people complain Facebook Events are a weak point of the world's most popular social network. The application of mitmi looks to integrate and transform how businesses and individuals market, share and plan their events.

MitMi (pronounced "meet me" in Spanglish) is a geo-locational application that really customizes event planning and advertising.

"What we saw about a year ago, geo-location was booming," along with social networking, says CEO Guillermo Zotes. "We wanted to mix both concepts and make it mobile."

Zotes says that they "saw a lack of organizing plans" on Internet-based media. They couldn't find an app that truly integrated social networks, while allowing collaborative event planning.

"Facebook is the mother of all social networks," but it "is not covering adequately their event posts," Zotes says. Facebook "does not give a real flexibility with clients."

Facebook events are often found ineffectual for "public" social events because they get lost in the crowd. "When (Facebook) events started in 2008, everyone started. Now, (there's) over-saturation," Zotes says. "Anyone can create a public event, but no categorization."

Marc Kildea uses Facebook to advertise events in Madrid at least three times a week, both for Triskel Tavern and for his Tuesday lunch club MMDDMM. He is eager for an alternative to Facebook Events. "I find that because Facebook keeps changing its format so regularly, it makes it difficult to keep up with and understand how and where to confirm yourself for attending a given event," Kildea says. He needs confirmed numbers to make weekly reservations at restaurants, which are certainly most crowded during Spain's most important meal of the day: comida or lunch. Facebook events "originally were perfect, but every couple of months they change the format once again. I personally don't understand why they need to change things so regularly. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Mitmi isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, just improve it. Everything posted on mitmi can automatically appear in Facebook Events, and vice versa.

Instead of giving exclusivity to one social network or the other--as many apps and networks are doing in the competition for customers in the overrun marketplace--the mitmi team is making an effort to make their app compatible and integrated with every popular possibility. The contacts and events merge with Facebook, phone, SMS, email and mitmi contacts, integrated with Google Maps, for iOS and Android. In addition, it contains its own chat and photo posting opportunities.

Mitmi is in contract with Restalo, a reservations site, where mitmi users can integrate a free restaurant reservation system within events. The mitmi app is completely free, including reservations, but the start-up splits Restalo's commission. In the future, the team hopes to use their application for all forms of ticketing. It will be a way that, when friends plan events around the city, they can make sure everyone has the ticket or reservation before they go to the door of the event.

Mitmi has a "focus on youngsters," first on Madrileños aged 18 to 25. In Madrid, "these discos are using Facebook events, but it's not giving them what they need."

It's not just used for members of official groups or for private occasions. Mitmi categorizes events, like sports, nightclubs, and the like. Facebook is really challenging to do a search for groups and events, at least in Spain. If you search for anything in Madrid, the vast majority of the first 50 results relate to the Real Madrid Football Club. The search on mitmi is segmented in various depths of categories.

However, because they segment based on personal interest, the security policies of mitmi are much more difficult than popular networks like Facebook, MySpace, Tuenti or Twitter.

"The Spanish legislation is tougher than American legislation, which makes it more challenging, less flexible. In that way, it imposes restrictions, through levels of privacy," Zotes says. "If you're asking about religious or political interests, it's even more (strict) than if you ask for banking data."

The Spanish constitution states that "no one may be obliged to state his ideology, religion or beliefs." Any site or app like mitmi, which allows people to share and network based on common interests, including religious, sexual, racial or political, needs to give many specific notifications that this data is not required, offering various reminders to users of their protections under the law, before they proceed into certain areas.

The app is currently active in both Spanish and English. Zotes says they've designed it in other languages as well, but that they want to prove themselves before releasing it in languages like Japanese, where they are not prepared customer service-wise.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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