Posts filed under community search

Whet your appetite with

Written by: Vivek Garg

On Dec 14th, 2008

foodiebayIf you are in Delhi area and you haven’t heard already about, it is a great  place to find, research and review your food choices before you head out to get some grub. Recently we had an opportunity to talk to Deepinder Goyal. Deepinder is one of the founding members of the startup out of IIT Delhi.

Generally I found the site quite pleasing and all the basics are covered. Deepinder says that their biggest USP is the menu for EACH restaurant listed on the site. And I tend to agree. It is really nice to have a glance at the original menu card. Out of the other players in this space, most notable is, if we discount “everything local” plays like burrp and other community driven local search sites. Foodiebay definitely wants to go where hungryzone is today in terms of features. Hungryzone seems to have larger presence with lot of  features likefoodiebay_alexa ordering food or make a reservation, done using Zook. What makes foodiebay so interesting is the amount of traffic it is generating as per Alexa in such a short amount of time. Take a look at the following graph. It seems like these guys have caught up to hungryzone already and looking good. I have put burrp & yepme in there to compare the niche play against broader ones. 

Generating buzz and staying on people’s mind is everything for sites like Foodiebay. So how do they do it? Deepinder tells us about one such example. our recent joint campaign with Pankhudi Foundation (an NGO which works with underprivileged children to lift them out of poverty) where we donated Rs 3 to Pankhudi for each new visitor to FoodieBay. This campaign prompted a lot of our existing customers to refer their friends to FoodieBay thus bringing us new eyeballs and loads of funds to Pankhudi.

I bet junta@foodiebay is working hard on their backlog, but some of the features I would love to see personally are

– mobile integration.

– Reverse IP lookup so that users destination is identified in advance.

– Phone integration so that people can call directly via the site. And it connects the users cell phone with the restaurant for ordering or reservations.

– lot of real or users pictures of the restaurant.

– And a buzzing community of reviewers.

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Community driven local search marching ahead.

Written by: Vivek Garg

On Mar 11th, 2007

After we did our last post on local search, comments & discussion indicate that people are not convinced, if community driven local search adds any value against the algorithmic ones. Here are some data points that I found very interesting.

 hitwise USA local traffic

LeeAnn Prescott says “Based on traffic to, Yahoo! Local and Live Local Search, it does not appear that interest in local search is increasing, but the substantial growth in Yelp’s traffic indicates that the social networking/local search combo is an effective means of engaging users around local content.”

This is very interesting but I am not sure if we can directly apply this to the Indian market. Nevertheless, I am expecting our local sites to follow suit. This actually prompted me to do a traffic analysis for Indian local search/social networking sites. Here is what Alexa shows:

indian local site traffic

Alexa traffic patterns might not be very accurate as it is based on their toolbar and I am not sure of the toolbar’s reach in India. But we can use this graph to compare traffic between these companies. MapMyIndia is leading here because there is lot of curiosity around maps. People spend lot of time trying to relate maps with their local knowledge of the city. And this shows why maps are important to create a complete local offering. If you take mapping out, Burrp and ilaaka are neck to neck. tolmolbol has little traffic because they are new. Most interesting is Onyomo that is been there for sometime but not getting much traffic. Anyone knows why?

Please leave your comments/thoughts on what you think of these charts.

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Will you bet on Local Search ?

Written by: Vivek Garg

On Feb 26th, 2007

Local search has been a very interesting challenge and alot of old and new companies are taking a stab. Lets look at this entire continuum and where each player sits. Radical idea is to find information that is geo tagged. This information can be as granular as lat-long or as coarse as a city name. So when you setup a shop to solve local search, first question is how do you collect & tag this information? How do you present this informaton so that it creates the most wholesome experience? How do you make money from this high investment business?

You can start with smart-crawling the web. I call it smart crawling because you dont crawl everything like a general purpose search engine. You need to identify and extract local information given a webpage. Dedupe listings that occurs on multiple pages. Lets says you write a kickass neural network that labels & classify this information. How does it know which one is real address? How do you verify the information you have is correct? You start thinking about this and realize that there are directory listing services that is accumulating such information forever. So you get feeds from yellow pages. There is a problem of matching different feed formats along with crawled information. This is where most of the current search engines are today. Google/Yahoo/Live/Guruji can do “crawl + feeds” using existing infrastructure.

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