Does “Local” Really Work?

There’s been a rash of local listing websites sprouting up lately (CityWaboo, Oddpath, FatDoor) and even more adding new features to their existing services (Local, AskCity, Superpages, CitySearch).

All these sites claim to connect me with all sorts of restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, events, etc. in my area, but they all seem like they just rehash the same data. Additionally, it occured to me that I can search all day long for chinese restaurants in my neighborhood, but the only one I’m going to eat at is the one my friend says is really good because he ate there last week.

So, what does that mean? Am I unusual? Do people really perform random searches for new bars to hang out in? Where is the word of mouth captured in these scenarios? We all know the personal recommendations matter the most. JudysBook and Yelp are on the right track, but unless I know any of the people giving the review, what’s the likelyhood that I’ll seriously consider it? In my experience… not very.

So how do you connect hyper-local audiences so they can share their collective insight and personal experiences? Furthermore, how do local service providers then tap into that collective to grow their business?

Start by getting your neighborhood online.

2 thoughts on “Does “Local” Really Work?

  1. “Do people really perform random searches for new bars to hang out in?”

    People do use telephone directories and yellow pages at times, to do random searches, don’t they? 🙂


  2. I understand that people use yellow pages (or something like it) to look up services (I just used it last week to find a contractor to fix the water leak in my basement).

    The point I’m driving at is that when you do these searches, the results are overwhelming. How do you pick one? I’d rather have a referral from a trusted source (obviously). I’m just not sure yet if ten 4-star reviews from complete strangers is enough to convince me. But if my neighbor used them, and I can literally see the results, I’m going to use the same guy he did.

    So how do we take that neighbor scenario and put it online where its more efficient and easily distributed?

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