Ask My Friends
Charlie O’Donnell has an interesting post on a business plan he’d like to see.
He calls it "Ask My Friends" and it’s another take on the various business plans we are all seeing that relate to local search, reviews, social networking, etc.
My experience with this category of web service goes back to Abuzz in the mid 90s. And we’ve looked at a lot of things since that operate in this general category. Some have been successful, but many have not.
Charlie observes that a big problem with many of these services is that they require people to commit to a single destination to post reviews and search.
Charlie asks if it wouldn’t be simpler to let people use the tools they use in everyday life; email, sms, im, blogs, etc to solicit the reviews and then log them as a byproduct of the query so that others can benefit from the reviews/answers that are provided.
Some of these concepts have been tried before with results that have been less than inspiring. But I agree with Charlie that the single destinations are tough to make work and that what we all want is a distributed approach that let’s us operate in the most natural way possible.
It’s a thought provoking post for anyone who is trying to build a service based on harnessing user generated content for location based services.