fredag 12. mars 2010

Communities on Lunch feature lets you build your own Yelp

When launched a year ago, I was slightly baffled about why it existed — did the world really need another review site? But J.R. Johnson, the Los Angeles, Calif. company’s founder and chief executive, says he didn’t just want to create a place for reviews. He also wanted to use those reviews as a way to connect people with common interests, and to create a “similarity network.” Now he has taken the next step in realizing that vision, with a new feature called Communities on Lunch.
Previously, the site focused on making individual connections, i.e. helping you find people who are interested in the things you’re interested in and like and dislike the same things you do. But as the name implies, the new Communities tool expands that idea to groups of people. So you could create a subsite for reviews around things like strollers, green living, and foreign films — basically a Yelp for any topic.
What’s promising about the idea is that these sites are easy to set up, but also give their creators a lot of control to sett the tone of the discussion. You can boot people out of a community if they’re being a jerk, and you can also create the templates for the reviews, so that people are nudged towards the kind of discussion that you’re interested in.
The Communities on Lunch launch comes at the beginning of the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, and in fact, one of the currently featured communities is for South by Southwest. You can review panels and parties, make lists of tips, and so on. is self-funded.
People: J.R. Johnson

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