Los Angeles Business Journal

Factual Traveling With TripAdvisor

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, March 18, 2013

The next time you plan a vacation using review website TripAdvisor, it will be a Los Angeles company providing some of the data you read.

Factual, a Century City data company, announced Monday that it has inked a deal with TripAdvisor to provide information on restaurants in more than 50 countries.

Factual’s data, which often includes a restaurant’s location, phone number and other relevant information, will integrate with TripAdvisor’s database of user reviews.

TripAdvisor will also forward Factual any user-generated information – say, if a café has moved locations – about the restaurants to help Factual maintain an accurate database.

“TripAdvisor’s users can get access to much richer information about restaurants all over the world,” said Eva Ho, Factual’s vice president of marketing and operations. “They’ll be providing a lot of user edits back to us for create the ultimate experience.”

Factual was founded in 2007 by Gil Elbaz, the co-founder of Applied Semantics, a precursor of Google AdSense. The company has collected data on 64 million places – such as doctors’ offices, hotels and other small businesses – around the world.

It licenses its data to companies such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and Foursquare for a fee. Companies that provide data back to Factual – as TripAdvisor plans to do – receive a discount on their subscriptions.

Ho said that about 25 percent of companies provide data back to Factual. The company then uses an algorithm – and some human curation – to make sure the user-generated data is correct before including it in its database.

Ingesting user-generated data is one way that Factual can continue to grow its database and maintain relevant information, Ho said.

“There’s a lot of traditional data providers out there,” she said. “To hit any type of scale, you need to have contributions and collaborations with the partners in the ecosystem. There’s no way to keep up with the hundreds of thousands of changes on the data level.”