Memo to GayCities and Fabulis: no need to jostle. There’s plenty of room for everyone on the Internet. Today GayCities, a blossoming web-and-mobile travel guide, debuts a new feature that allows users to share their FourSquare and Facebook check-ins. Those check-ins will be aggregated over on GayCities, revealing the hottest of webfag hotspots. Looking for the most popular (or least popular) gay bar in town? GayCities hopes that you’ll consult their check-in database to find it. It’s a neat idea. In fact, you could even call it fabulous. And if you have disdain for spell check, you might go so far as to call it “Fabulis.” That’s the website that launched earlier this year with the goal of revealing nifty destinations for socially-minded gays. Sound familiar?
You might be forgiven for suspecting that GayCities’ new innovation is meant to be some kind of Fabulis-killer. But no, GayCities CEO Scott Gatz tells Queerty, “We have a different approach than Fabulis.”
“We’re focused on providing a great way to uncover the best of what’s happening in cities around the world,” he writes. “We provide an organized view of the places, events and people you are looking for. We help you find your crowd and where they are going.”
Scott cited a few examples of how homos might use the new feature: finding a great new restaurant, seeing what parties people are going to this weekend, or finding a great art exhibit. As soon as you check-in on Foursquare or Facebook, your GayCities profile also knows where you are. And then the site recommends “popular now” venues, so everyone can flock to wherever the party’s at.
Well, gosh. That sure sounds a lot like what Fabulis has set out to do.
But in practice, Fabulis does seem to be taking quite a different tack. Check out the site: Right now the first thing you see are a bunch of countdown timers for online contests, and an invitation to create your own video ad for the site. Then it tells you that you won a bunch of points, and asks you to invite a bunch of friends to win more. Close that window, and you’re shown a list of a bunch of random messages from strangers.
You do have the option to import your Facebook Places check-ins to Fabulis — but then that info seems to just sort of waft away. We couldn’t find anywhere on the site where Places check-ins actually show up.
This is all to say that Fabulis is about a lot of things, and real-time check-ins don’t quite seem to be one of them. Which is fine! In our conversations with Fabulis CEO Jason Goldberg, he explained that the site is much more about making plans than about real-time checki-ns.
In fact, back when Fabulis launched, we asked him if it would occupy the same space as Foursquare, and he said not really, since he’s found that gays tend not to use check-in apps very often. (To which we responded with disbelief, and then reflected that perhaps we’ve lived in the San Francisco nerd-bubble for a bit too long.)
Of course, speaking purely from our own experience, we’ve never met anyone (aside from Scott) who talks about using GayCities to find events. But are we missing out? According to Scott, the site has 450,000 people visiting each month. That is a lot of gays. And straight husbands whose wives are out of town.
So how often do you, Queerty user, consult GayCities? And now that they’re launching check-ins, will you peek in to discover new venues and events?