Savvy Marketers Needed
September 14, 2006 10:19 AM   Subscribe

I am currently building a 'community' website which is like the Yellow Pages with user reviews. For example, the website lists all the Florists, Plumbers, and Massage Therapists in the area, and then allows people to post a review for the particular service. The website is for a community of about 75,000 and it won't be difficult to get the word out about the website. The challenge is getting people to 'generate' the content. How can we incentivize people to write reviews? Any examples of websites that are doing this right? Most importantly, any creative ideas from the savvy marketers out there on how to get people to write reviews and generate our critical content with minimal financial incentive?
posted by jasondigitized to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like the thing that let to Metafilter's early success was lots of quality posts from #1. If you and lots your friends and family make frequent, quality posts it could inspire others to do the same.
posted by TurkishGolds at 10:25 AM on September 14, 2006

To me this sounds a lot like yelp. I don't know exactly how to go about advertising exactly, but for myself and quite a few people I know, I found yelp just by word of mouth. I contribute reviews because I have found good reviews there. I think the most important thing to do is keep it free of spam and companies reviewing themselves and maybe work on getting a core group of people to start reviewing things with as much detail as possible.

Submitting your site out to things like digg and Projects here can be a good way to get the ball rolling.
posted by chrisroberts at 10:27 AM on September 14, 2006

Also, don't discount egobation. If you make a public profile page for participating users with counts of the number of reviews, replies, etc., people -will- participate more in order to be on the top.

I've experienced this in great numbers, and I still don't understand it, but it does work.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:33 AM on September 14, 2006

Angie's List is one site that's doing this successfully. It's subscription-based, which limits the audience but may also ensure that all the users are truly interested. The same effect seems to work on MetaFilter: Most people won't donate $5 just to spam the site with crap that will get deleted anyways. This only works if people really value your site, though.

Angies List's also narrowly focused on "home service" businesses (plumbing, construction, landscaping, housecleaning...), which might make it easier to market in some ways than a "review anything" site.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:53 AM on September 14, 2006

You could run a contest where each user gets an entry for every review they post. You can easily weed out crap by stating that the winning comment must meet some criteria.
posted by dripdripdrop at 10:55 AM on September 14, 2006

Check out They set up badges and other virtual rewards for those who write reviews.
posted by chunking express at 11:16 AM on September 14, 2006

This sounds similar to yet another site (and one I like), Insider Pages

Maybe you can learn something from them.
posted by adamk at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2006

The most common mistake with this kind of site is to go into it with the somewhat scummy (sorry, but it is) idea that your users are going to produce all your "content" for you (you give away your attitude by using that word). If you want the site to get off the ground, you have to do some legwork yourself.
posted by reklaw at 1:23 PM on September 14, 2006

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