AOL launches new entertainment-based map site

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In a new effort to expand entertainment coverage, AOL is putting celebrities on the map.

The Web site, Whereitsat.com, displays a mix of well-known and relatively unknown landmarks related to pop culture icons, such as musical legend birthplaces and the location of notable weddings. The site is part of the AOL Entertainment Network, which includes AOL Music, Moviefone, AOL Television, BlackVoices and others.

“Our primary goal is making great content for our users,” said Melissa Olund, director of AOL Music, who was involved with the development of Where It's At. “If we create the best content that we can, the traffic and the distribution to friends will follow.”

Using technology powered by MapQuest, AOL launched the site with 100 landmarks throughout the US and is now asking visitors to submit their own locations of note.

“It's user-gen, but it's not pure user-gen,” explained Olund. The site has two dedicated staff as well as freelance support to verify locations, add additional facts and content to user-supplied material and select relevant products to pair with each highlighted spot. For example, a link to buy Bob Dylan's greatest hits CD shows up when a user looks at his birthplace.
 
The site is sponsored by Visa, and Olund said the “commerce pop-outs allow Visa to be positioned between subtle and relevant transactional opportunities.” There are no other ads on the site. 

AOL is in talks with MapQuest to make Whereitsat.com information available during a general direction search on MapQuest, Olund said. A potential partnership also may yield mobile phone opportunities.

Currently the site also uses content from AOL-owned site When.com. Based on what a user is looking at, relevant nightlife and restaurant listings from the location-based event site will appear on the right-hand column.
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