Foursquare Testing New Rating System

Foursquare Testing New Rating System

There are many sites on the web today that can give you an aggregate rating of a business, restaurant, or just about anything. On most these sites, it’s hard to know if the information can be trusted. Sometimes you wonder if robots are writing the reviews or it’s just the same person writing over and over again.

But there are some sites that have broken through ranks and become respected and, for the most part, trustworthy. One that comes to mind is Yelp. Yelp has quite an impressive collection of businesses, services, stores, health service, and much more. They have a wide user base, and it’s easy for a user to get a quick run-down on whatever they may be looking at. Now there’s another big player entering the game: Foursquare.

Foursquare to Challenge Yelp

Last night, Foursquare announced a new feature to its service: ratings. Christina Chaey for FastCompany writes, “Foursquare is experimenting with a new ratings system that gives users more information … than the often-arbitrary five-star system.” This reference to an “arbitrary” five-star system might be a dig at Yelp, Foursquare’s competition in this realm.

Ultimately, the 10-point system that Foursquare is experimenting with is “supposed to be a smarter indication of how much people like a particular place.” How exactly is Foursquare trying to be smarter when it comes to ratings? According to their blog, they will integrate, “tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide.”

Will it Work?

Ok, that does sound pretty darn impressive. I’m not a Foursquare user myself, but I know a few people who do use it to make decisions about where they are shopping, eating, or going to hang out. It’s an app (and now a website) that works well; it brings local knowledge about places to everyone. It’s good for business, and it’s good for the customer. If the new rating system works out the way Foursquare claims it will, I can only see the service getting better. They certainly have the expertise and the data to make it work.

A New Rivalry in the Making?

Not many people think of Yelp and Foursquare as competitors. They offer similar services, but each is different enough for users to recognize why one should be used over the other in a given situation. Plus, they function differently, too. Foursquare is a location-based app, and Yelp is a web-based search engine based on reviews.

But that is changing now. Dara Kerr reports for CNet that “Foursquare has been working to become more of a local search engine” open to non-members, and at the same time, “Yelp revamped its site in August to highlight social connections.” It seems the two services are starting to jump head-first into each other’s territory.

Why Your Clients Should Care

What does this mean moving forward? It means that Foursquare and Yelp should be an important strategy for your clients to utilize. As both services continue to increase their user-base and amount of information, they are only going to improve their services. That means it’s probable that more and more people will start to use Yelp, Foursquare, or both. For a service, business, or organization to not be on one or both as part of its online strategy is becoming more of a mistake as each day passes.

Do your clients use Foursquare or Yelp to get more exposure?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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