SaaS Platform For Yellow Page Websites That Integrates Local Merchant Reviews

Prototype Built in 1999

We were crazy enough to think in late 1999 that the internet would be a great medium for users to share opinions and ratings about local merchants.

Sadly, by the time we pulled together our initial business plan and prototype in June 2000, the dot-com bubble had burst. Funding could not be found.

Today, most of the product features we developed in 2000 based on input from focus groups are offered by Yelp or Angie’s List.

But we still think they are missing one critical user need that could disrupt the local merchant review space.

Consumers Win

In the ideal scenario, who would you approach for trustworthy recommend- ations on local merchants?

Users we surveyed said they would first approach friends and neighbors who had similar life-stage and life-style profiles as themselves. They also like to reuse the same people and reciprocate to show thanks.

So why don’t Yelp and Angie’s List do a better job of emulating the real-life, social process of people seeking and building go-to networks of trusted word-of-mouth sources?

MyNeighborSaid offered a solution in 2000 that is still applicable today.

Local Merchants Win

In 1999 local merchants did not have access to tools that could help them manage word-of-mouth on the web.

Today, merchants can ask customers to submit reviews at Yelp, Angie’s List or an online yellow page site.

These sites also provide merchants with the ability to respond to reviews, which was the #1 concern that local merchants expressed in our research in 2000.

But despite addressing merchant needs, we think these sites are under-performing with respect to merchant support, loyalty and ad spending.

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