How do you find the best local social review sites?
February 9, 2010 7:54 PM   Subscribe

How do you find the best local social review sites, like angie's list or yelp?

I'm posting this question for a friend. She'd like to know how people find sites like craigslist or angie's list or yelp that are local and involve user reviews or community involvement.

Basically, if you're in a large metro area and need to make a decision about something like going out to eat or hiring a contractor, and you suspect a site exists that might have user-supplied information specific to your location that would help you make your decision, how do you go about finding such a site? I'm not sure if "local social review site" is really the correct set of terms, but it more-or-less covers the key elements of the kind of site we're talking about.

For the record, my friend is coming at this from the angle of a provider of such a site, not as someone who is actually looking for a site like this for a specific decision she needs to make. General answers are exactly what she wants, although if you have Chicago-specific experience, that would be extra nice.
posted by MadamM to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If I were new to a metro area, I'd just use Yelp, or maybe Citysearch. Once I'd lived there for a while, via word of mouth (or possibly, links passed by friends) I'd have discovered the more local, nice sites, such as (in NY) Zagat, Time Out NY, Gothamist, etc.
posted by lsemel at 8:15 PM on February 9, 2010

I'd rely on word of mouth.
posted by dfriedman at 8:20 PM on February 9, 2010

Seconding word of mouth.
posted by mollymayhem at 8:29 PM on February 9, 2010

I think the "People love us on Yelp" stickers are very effective. They seem to mostly (only?) give them to places that really are highly-rated, and so they act as advertisements simultaneously for the utility of Yelp as a resource and the business that displays it.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:05 PM on February 9, 2010

In Google results for specific places.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:04 PM on February 9, 2010

The forums on are a good starting point. Some areas have very active forums but even the forum for the small city I moved to was active enough to have recommendations for orthodontists, vegetarian restaurants, lawn-mower-repair-guys, etc.
posted by headnsouth at 2:47 AM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

A locally-focused site has recently sprung up in my area. I'm very active online, follow Yelp, read a ton of local Twitterers, etc. But the way I found out about this new site was by seeing, in several places, actual physical signs in local shop windows.

Also, it took me seeing several signs in several windows (while driving) before I actually remembered it again, when I was sitting at a computer.
posted by lhall at 11:01 AM on February 10, 2010

Word of mouth. I've never seen a remotely reliable or useful social review type site.

Just look at the comments on every business's review. One star because they didn't hire you. 5 stars, but with a terrible review written. Skip it. If it looks good, it usually is.
posted by cmoj at 12:58 PM on February 10, 2010

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