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Tuesday, 10th July 2007

Search + Intelligence: Yapta Receives $2.3 Million in Series A Venture Cap

Search + Intelligence is a growing category of resources that not only provide listings but offer a bit more than only listings. Yes, it's true, all search results could be considered intelligence tools but we're focusing on services that provide more than results or tools to monitor results that change often, like travel pricing. Examples we place in this category include (this is not a comprehensive list):

+ mPire
Shopping Search + Historical Pricing Info

+ Wize
Aggregation of consumer reviews into a single number

+ Trulia
For example, their heat maps and monthly trends report (PDF).
++ Zillow
Zestimates, public record data, etc.
+++ HouseFront
Includes access to public record data about a property

+ Farecast
Air fare search (for some cities) + historical pricing info along with advice about if/when it's a good time to purchase the ticket. We've posted about Farecast many times in the past year and in this post provide a few links to a research project at the University of Washington in Seattle by Dr. Oren Etzioni, that eventually became FareCast. It was originally named Hamlet (to buy or not to buy). Farecast also offers FareGuard that backs up their predictions by paying out the difference if a fare goes up and their database says it will stay the same or go down.

Now, another Seattle company, Yapta, is developing an air fare alerting service. The company launched in May and they just received $2.3 million in Series A funding according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

All we can say is hooray (assuming that it works). Frequent travelers know that they need all the help you can get in finding the best price for a seat on an airplane. It's a cat and mouse game that can depend on constant monitoring of several databases for fare changes, being alerted to them without having to sit and reload pages hourly, and then reacting, one way or another, quickly. Of course, being alerted to fare changes is nothing new. Most of the major players offer them and FareChase/Yahoo also makes them available as a Yahoo Alert and a Yahoo Widget. Yahoo's service is available only for selected cities.

Is Yapta better (faster, more accurate, etc.)? We're going to do some monitoring and comparisons and report back.

Yapta in a few bullet points:

+ Requires download of the Yapta Tagger (IE only at this point, Firefox Coming Soon, Sorry Mac users.)

+ Search for flights and fares using major aggregators (Orbitz, Expedia, etc.) and airline web sites (12 sites/databases as of today). In case your're interested, no Southwest.

+ "Tag" the flight(s) your interested in using the Yapta Tagger.

+ If the price drops, you're notified via e-mail (we hope SMS alerts are in the works).

+ If you have already purchased a ticket, enter the confirmation code (directly on the web site) and the price will be monitored. If it drops, you might be able to get the difference as a travel voucher or a cash refund. More here.

+ What's with the name? It stands for: Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant

+ More questions. See the FAQ


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