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Earlier this week I posted a column titled, "Google kills Yelp." The feedback has really been strong on this one! Some saying that, yes, Google will kill Yelp (and the other local review sites) but most saying that Yelp will live on and continue to grow. I love Yelp. I use Yelp for finding information about a local business before I would ever think to Google it.
Mashable followed-up with "Google Maps Local Reviews: 8 Big Losers" where James notes eight local reviews services that might be losers after Google dominates. His eight include: Yelp (cn coverage), welovelocal (cn coverage), Angie’s List, Zipingo, InsiderPages, Touch Local, MojoPages and TrustedPlaces.
One of the posts that stuck out to me was by Stephan Uhrenbacher, Qype CEO. Qype provides local reviews in a bunch of European countries with a large percentage of users in the United Kingdom and Germany. Check out his post titled, "Never compete head to head with Google." on the Qype blog and here are some excerpts:
Will Qype be successful? To answer this question, you have to take a closer look at our business. We are in the business of building a local community of people who have something meaningful to say. We try our best to separate signal and noise. We actively support our community. We solve conflicts. This the expensive part of our business. We invested a lot of our resources to get our community going in Germany and are planning to achieve this in the UK.
We at least find it not easy to convince visitors that it is a rewarding experience to contribute to Qype. The reward comes later from the community, in form of recognition, feedback, etc. And this is what makes us grow. There is no recognition element on Google Maps. So for the moment, I think the review feature on Google Maps will not be a huge threat.
Look, the truth is that anytime you are in a business, offline or online, someone bigger can appear at any minute. It's your job to continue to differentiate yourself from the others. Competition is a good thing. Qype, Yelp and the others are working their angles and I think we will see even stronger products appearing over the balance of the year. I have always been a fan of review sites and look forward to the next generation of reviews. Who will create the first video reviews site?