Bakersfield’s Inside Guide to Local BusinessPosted on February 10th, 2007 No comments
I’m on vacation right now, so I’m not blogging much, but I did want to tell those who read this blog about a cool new product we just launched: the Inside Guide to Local Business.
Think of it as My Space meets Yellow Pages. It’s an interactive directory that lets locals rate and review local restaurants. We pre-create profiles for businesses we want to target, then invite them in to “claim” the profiles to publicly respond to reviews, update their information, add photos and more.
Initially, we’re focusing on restaurants because we know people love to eat and tell others about their favorite places and little secrets. As time goes on, we’ll be expanding Inside Guide into other categories by rolling out listings for more local businesses.
You can do a lot of cool things in the Inside Guide, including:
- Rate and review restaurants. See recent reviews here.
- Search local restaurants by any number of categories, including cuisine; and popularity in terms of regular customers, by top rankings and by specialty.
- Sign in to become a “Regular Customer” of your favorite restaurants. Your profile will be linked from the restaurant’s page, and from your own personal profile.
- Read reviews from The Bakersfield Californian’s restaurant critic.
- Become a “trusted reviewer” by 1) posting at least 10 reviews and 2) having at least seven people giving your review a “thumb’s up.” Trusted reviewers are designated with a red check mark next to their user name.
The Inside Guide is tied into Bakersfield.com’s other community features, with new reviews showing up on your user profile along with everything else that you post (see an example on my profile here).
We’re excited about the Inside Guide for many reasons, but especially because it’s a natural way to simultaneously serve local consumers and grow revenue. You’ll notice that we’re already already selling ads into the directory (beginning with Little Ceasar’s), and the advertising space will only become more targeted as we add more business categories over time. In the future we plan to let businesses pay for the right to send specials and deals to people who sign up as their regular customers.
If profiles and blogs are social media, this might be described as social advertising. It allows businesses to harness community interactive to drive business goals and build closer relationships with their customers. And for the users, it’s just FUN!