A new local directory has launched in the Seattle area. TeachStreet is a free service that helps connect people with more than 25,000 teachers, coaches and other instructors in the area. Users can search TeachStreet to find instructors for classes such as yoga and beer making. Searches can be targeted through a variety of criteria including neighborhood and age range.
To collect contact information for the TeachStreet database, TeachStreet has enlisted the help of a team of contractors to manually collect the data--which includes names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and pricing information. The contractors comb sources such as Google, Craigslist, school catalogs and other web sites to find the information.
TeachStreet recently announced a $2.25 million venture round of funding. But the company plans to use online advertising to grow revenues. It will offer instructors the opportunity to purchase sponsored links and will eventually launch premium services (such as payment processing to instructors).
This is an interesting idea, but it will only be successful if contractors can collect enough information--and the most accurate information--to make it a robust offering. Still, it would be helpful if the contractors didn't have to do it alone. And they might not have to.
The company's founder is hoping that individual instructors will want to take an active role in creating and updating their profiles. If that happens, it will certainly help TeachStreet. Then, accuracy can be more confidently ensured, and the profiles will provide more value for users and the profiled instructors as well.