Factual Aims to be Framework for Local Offers

Open data Platform Factual continues its expansion into the local market. The new "monetize API," as the company is calling it, helps connect developers--and their users--to coupons, table bookings and other referrals to local places. The developer, in turn, gets a cut of whatever Factual earns from the deal. The addition to the Factual Places API comes with four launch partners, including the two most popular daily deal websites.

Factual's Tyler Bell said the new API is not just about GroupOn and its brethren. "We wouldn't do this if it's just daily deals. The sector has been maligned. Not a lot of geo technology has been used to get the right deals to the right people. What we're doing is a Framework for any kind of offer that comes from a store," Bell said.

The monetize API is launching with four partners already signed up: GroupOn, LivingSocial, Yelp and GrubHub. The company aims to have a service that will allow many companies in the local space to get broader distribution through developers' apps. And, of course, developers benefit with a new revenue stream. The end goal is to "improve the contextual relevance and engagement of their applications," Bell said.

The Factual Places API, which we said may become the go-to location database, is integral to the new service. Offers are tied to specific business listings or can be looked up to find nearby deals. Rather than roll their own venues database, developers are frequently choosing Factual, something perhaps popularized by Facebook, which used Factual when it launched the Facebook check-in service.

Factual has been beefing up the data available in its Places API for specific verticals. In December it added restaurant attributes, such as cuisine, ratings and parking. Today the company also announced extended data for 115,000 hotels and other lodgings in the United States. There are 38 new attributes, which include amenities at the facility, internet availability and pet friendliness.

The company appears to be marching toward a leadership in local data, a market that has been closed for some time. Factual is making its place database available for free up to 10,000 queries per day. Premium access requires that you talk to someone at the company. Previous pricing structures listed calls at $0.10 to $1 per 1,000 calls, though the company has always given better deals to those who contribute data back.

Be sure to read the next Financial article: 180 Finance APIs: PayPal, CrunchBase and FreshBooks