While traveling to North Carolina, I visited Yelp mobile and their online site to quickly figure out where I wanted to go for dinner in Chapel Hill. Yes, this is a local+social+mobile experience and if you’re not in that game, it’s just ‘a fantastic roaming concierge.’ There is only one thing missing - the ability to make a portable list (HINT: Yelp, make a to-go list on your mobile app).
It doesn’t have to be Yelp but it doesn’t hurt that it was Yelp because they have the database full of strangers, friends, and stuff to do. And it certainly helps that they have a mobile app. If I can’t quickly find it on my iPhone I’m not interested. A few competitive sites offered choices online (a bit limited) and no choices via mobile.
By searching for Restaurants in Chapel Hill, I found a reviewer who was also from San Francisco who is now living here - aha, the relevancy kicks in. So do I trust reviews from strangers? Maybe. But I do like reviews from strangers who are similar to me. People who like what I like probably have a better idea of where to go than Aunt Milly (not that there’s anything wrong with Aunt Milly).
The best part after finding a good place to go is that I could get directions to it via Google maps. From start to finish within minutes it looked like this: Where? Check. Surf reviews, check. Select, check. Map - I’m there. Another HINT for Yelp is that the ‘find similar reviewers to me process ought to be very simple. Bizzy.com is looking to solve this problem with a fantastic user experience. I’ve also just downloaded Urban Spoon. And since I’m throwing a few names around, I’m happy to do a competitive chart if anyone would find that valuable. It may cut down on the noise and shorten your decision time.