Sidewalk Makes It Even Easier for City Residents to Manage Their Social Lives and Make Entertainment Plans From Their Desks
REDMOND, Wash., March 25, 1998 — It’s been a busy year for the Sidewalk
™(http://sidewalk.com/) personalized city guide to arts and entertainment published by Microsoft Corp. After launching the guide in nine U.S. cities in 1997, local Sidewalk teams hit the ground running and recently unveiled an array of new features. In response to user feedback, Sidewalk city teams created several services to help users quickly find the information they care most about and receive timely information they can act on.
Consumers have responded extremely well to Sidewalk, explained Matt Kursh, business unit manager for Sidewalk at Microsoft. Usage figures have exceeded internal projections, the service has attracted nearly 5,000 local and national advertisers and, most importantly, people are utilizing Sidewalk – 93 percent of consumers are acting on the information they find on the service.*
“As we make plans to expand into 50 U.S. markets in 1998, we are working to make Sidewalk even better based on what we’ve learned from our users. They’re looking for fast, easy access to information they can really use,” Kursh said. “Our city teams are capitalizing on the combination of first-rate editorial content from Sidewalk and the most useful Internet technology to deliver just that, whether it’s ordering tickets in New York, monitoring commute times in Minneapolis or checking the ski slopes around Denver. After testing these features in individual markets, we can integrate the most successful into the entire network of Sidewalk sites.”
Painless Ways to Find the Best Tickets
New Yorkers are lucky enough to reside in the country’s arts and entertainment capital and love to take advantage of the city’s world-class museums, plays and clubs. Securing tickets, however, can often be a frustrating process. With that in mind, New York Sidewalk recently introduced TicketCenter designed to help New Yorkers with the “what, where and how much” of ticket purchasing for the places and events they attend regularly.
New York Sidewalk has made an impression on time-pressed New Yorkers: The Sidewalk audience has been growing by about 15 percent per month, explained Cella Irvine, general manager of New York Sidewalk. “For lots of users, Sidewalk has become a weekly habit, and they’ve told us that they really value the fact that Sidewalk makes it easier for them to plan their social lives without leaving their desks,” Irvine said. “TicketCenter offers features that help consumers take advantage of New York’s phenomenal entertainment options, like timely
e-mail ticket updates, online ticket purchasing and event-finders that let them quickly zero in on the specific information they want.”
In addition to online ticket purchasing through TicketWeb, the New York Sidewalk TicketCenter offers a daily listing of discount tickets available from TKTS, a daily e-mail alerting subscribers to tickets that are about to go on sale, information about sports tickets (with retail and scalper prices), and the Passport to Off Broadway, a discount ticket program with downloadable discount coupons for hundreds of off-Broadway plays.
Sidewalk sites in Washington, D.C., and Boston also give residents the inside scoop on live events. In Washington, an agreement with TicketPlace lets users find out what half-price tickets are available. Boston Sidewalk offers users a daily listing of half-price tickets through an agreement with BosTix, discounted tickets to Broadway productions through a relationship with the Broadway in Boston WebTix program, and a ticket-swap area where users can buy, sell and trade show tickets.
Breaking Bread With Sidewalk
The average American eats out 5.1 times a week, and while residents want to enjoy the great food their cities offer, sometimes their hectic lives get in the way. That’s why Sidewalk offers high-quality restaurant information that consumers are using: Across the Sidewalk cities, consumers access the restaurant section of the site twice as often as movies, arts, music, sports or recreation.
For time-pressed city residents, planning an evening doesn’t always mean going out. Many relish evenings at home but dread the effort of shopping and cooking, if they manage to get away from their desks in time for dinner. That’s why several Sidewalk cities have added features that make eating well at work or at home even easier. New York Sidewalk, through an agreement with nydelivery.com, offers online food ordering for delivery from some of the best restaurants in the city. Boston Sidewalk plans to offer a similar service through an agreement with Cyberchefs. Washington, D.C., Sidewalk provides links to A La Carte Express from reviews of restaurants served by the online food-ordering service.
In San Francisco, even cyberfriendly residents can’t always go online when they’re looking for the perfect spot to grab a bite. Ever mindful of consumer needs, San Francisco Sidewalk created the San Francisco Sidewalk Offline Restaurant Guide through a relationship with Sasquatch Publishing. The guide, a fantastic resource for anyone looking for a great place to eat, delivers the site’s expert eatery coverage in a portable, easy-to-use book. Seattle Sidewalk offers the Seattle Sidewalk Offline Restaurant Guide, a similar book that covers Seattle’s hottest restaurants.
Out and About: Downhill or Downtown With Sidewalk
For Denver’s army of ski lovers, Denver Sidewalk offers everything they need to know to plan the perfect trip to the slopes. Through a relationship with Digital Camera Network (DCN), Denver Sidewalk delivers real-time Web-cam views of snow and weather conditions at local resorts, so Sidewalk users know immediately what’s happening on their favorite slopes. An alliance with Henz Meteorological Services (HMS) lets Sidewalk offer several-day weather forecasts for the base, midpoint and summit of each mountain. Weekly e-mailed ski reports and at-a-glance road condition maps round out the Denver Sidewalk ski coverage – the perfect partner for a day of champagne powder!
And as spring approaches and thoughts turn from skiing to golfing, Twin Cities Sidewalk offers residents the ability to book tee times at area courses right from their desk, through a relationship with Teemaster, while Boston Sidewalk provides a golf guide with reviews of over 170 public golf courses.
Twin Cities Sidewalk also provides information for the Minneapolis/St. Paul gay community. The Twin Cities Sidewalk GayLife feature – developed through a relationship with Lavender magazine – gives residents everything they need to know about the area’s vibrant gay scene.
From Here to There With Sidewalk
Reservations at an exclusive restaurant or tickets to the perfect event are useless in the face of gridlock traffic. Just getting home from work can be a trying experience. Whether users want to monitor their daily commute or check congestion on the road to an event, Sidewalk lends a hand. Last year, Seattle Sidewalk introduced Trafficview, a hugely successful feature that offers real-time traffic updates, including information about specific traffic incidents, a handy trip calculator that lets drivers know how long their trip will take, and e-mail updates with customized route details.
Twin Cities Sidewalk unveiled a similar service through relationships with the Minneapolis Department of Transportation, Connect Computer Company Inc. and Metabridge Inc. Boston Sidewalk lets users create a customized traffic page based on traffic conditions provided by SmarTraveler, and includes information about public transportation and water shuttles. And Denver Sidewalk turns road condition information into useful maps so travelers know exactly what to expect. More Sidewalk cities plan to offer traffic features in the future as a critical part of the Sidewalk mission to help make it easier for people to get out and enjoy their free time.
The Sidewalk personalized guide to entertainment published by Microsoft Corp., offers residents a way to make better decisions about what to do, where to go, what to see and when to see it. From concerts to movies, restaurants and sporting events, Sidewalk provides previews, reviews and even customized suggestions about what’s happening every day. Sidewalk is available in Seattle; New York; Boston; Houston; Denver; Minneapolis/St. Paul; San Francisco; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; and Sydney, Australia. Sidewalk is scheduled to be available in the top 50 U.S. cities by the end of 1998.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
* Survey conducted by Research Connections Inc., December 4-8, 1997, with 413 Sidewalk users. Actual percent +/- 5% at 95% confidence level.
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