I had the pleasure of presenting the road map of Voice Places to our VVM Editors as a group this last week. I am fortunate to be working with well known brands like LA Weekly, SF Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Village Voice and many more. These are cultural icons in these cities. They were local authorities before the word “hyperlocal” was ever conjured up. I define these editors and their teams as “local legacy.They are a trusted source not afraid to review the good, the bad, and the straight up ugly in our cities. They take pride in their unbiased reviews of restaurants, music, events, and cultural happenings, as they should. When I took over as the new Community Architect for
Well Fritz Lanman thinks he has the “what’s next” with Livestar. Livestar was released to the Apple store this weekend. His goal, to blend local reviews, your social circle, and professional critics all in one app.
While I was in San Francisco this weekend, I had time to play with it. Some things I took away form this experience:
1) Four buckets of local search into one app. “Trusted influencers”, your personal network (curious if this becomes too spammy), professional reviews, aggregation sites.
2) The ability to add your own source of professional critics is interesting. Especially from my point of view with 13 quality legacy brands who do this day in and day out. The question I ask, what sites do you depend on for professional reviews, and would you add it as a source to a new app or would you continue to go to your trusted source? Are these sources “portable” during local search?
3) I find it interesting the Fritz & company call Yelp and TripAdvisors as aggregation sites. Does this mean the closer connection to Google and Bing gives less authority to the separate communities of these groups? For TripAdvisor, I can get that… but does this mean the Yelp Elite are now a tool for search engines more than before? Do you consider Yelp an aggregation site or quality user generated content?
Overall great concept. I feel the UX is very confusing and potentially spammy to the user. Is this another Localmind with a layer of professional content?
One thing is clear, the local search game is getting more complicated. Reviews and reputation can come from everywhere now days. Even a contact in someone’s iPhone via Livestar. As the land shifts in this game, I still believe local trusted content is what will dominate. That is why I work with legacy local brands.
The rules in local discovery has never changed. Reputation matters. The tools have. As competition to be the go-to-local-search leader in this space, local trusted content will always dominate.
Keep an eye on Voice Places. We have some great things happening around this platform. After meeting with the editors this last week, I have never been more excited about what we can build.