Among several new ventures Carma is tackling on top of their existing projects, Gayborhood is now available in 38 U.S. cities with listings of gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses. It’s as useful when you’re in your hometown as it is when traveling.
And iPhone users are eating it up. Since its May 20 launch, it quickly entered the Top 100 gay apps in the iPhone App Store.
“It’s going really well,” says Thomas Ryan, CFO and publisher for Carma. “We’re also around 4,000 Facebook fans in less than a month, and we’re seeing interactions online because people are really getting behind it.”
Under the slogan “Your Life. Your Journey. Your Gayborhood,” Ryan and Carma CEO Marci Alt say users are responding to Gayborhood as a much-needed addition to the growing collection of LGBT apps.
“There’s just not anything else quite like it,” he says. “No matter where you happen to be, we’re a fully comprehensive business directory—not just restaurants, bars, shopping and bathhouses.
“Believe it or not, gay people do more than eat, drink, shop and have sex with random strangers,” he laughs. “So that’s why we’re doing this. We’ve always been comprehensive in our yellow pages—pet services, home improvements, community resources, everything—and this is a way to take that idea nationwide. We see this as a perfect way to help the LGBTQ community across America rest assured they are spending their money with businesses that do not discriminate.”
The app is interactive, allowing users to search listings and maps with turn-by-turn directions to specific destinations or simply search “Near Me” for the places closest to your location. It also provides user reviews so that you can see what others think or share your experience.
The best part? Gayborhood is just getting started. With an upgrade last week that broadened the radius of searches and made the app faster, the Journeys feature was also added so that users can share their stories, from coming out to dating to life-changing experiences.
“It’s a real resource for the community,” Ryan says. “I know when I was coming out, I would have killed to just have a place to see other’s coming out stories, just to know I was not alone.”
Upgrades in the near future will also add more cities (up to 300 when all is said and done), a list of Pride and LGBT film festivals in each city and—very soon—giveaways. Yep, there’s swag in it for you just for downloading and using Gayborhood.
“It’s good stuff, too—whatever’s hot or new or sought-after” Ryan says. “Things like the newest and most popular DVD box sets, CDs, t-shirts and more. Each week, we’ll randomly draw a winner, and those will also be posted on our website. We’ll also offer different things to do to get involved with the app and the site.”
The summer will also bring an Android-compatible Gayborhood app, with the ultimate goal of having cross-platform compatibility no matter who your provider is. Until then, Gayborhood is also available online at GayborhoodApp.com.
So download it, snoop around and give the creators your feedback.
“People are telling us every day about things they’d like to see on the app or ways they’d like it to work,” Ryan says. “The most recent upgrade includes those suggestions. It’s the community’s app, so we’re really happy that they’re participating in making it even better.”
Gayborhood is just one new project Carma has taken on in recent weeks. Carma now partners with Project Q Atlanta as our advertising sales hub. With 20 years experience selling the Gay Community Yellow Pages, selling and overseeing production for past Atlanta Pride guides, Atlanta Film Festival programs, other high-profile publications and now Gayborhood, Carma is ideal for managing Project Q’s advertising operations, says Mike Fleming, partner and co-editor of the LGBT site.
“Like Carma’s Gayborhood app, our growth keeps surpassing even our own expectations,” Fleming says. “We need advertising sales partners who know the market, have the contacts, and know the product to keep up the pace we’re setting. As an established part of Atlanta’s LGBT community, the Carma team is the perfect partner to sell advertising on our site, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them on board.”