Let me run a scenario by you. What if someone said I am starting a business and I am going to make the customers give me all the money and the products for free while I sit back and relax? You would think this is completely ridiculous and never believe it could work…well it is..kinda…
This is not a rant but more of a general thing about why website users are so dumb. I am trying to understand why they do things and maybe you can help me.
What are the incentives to review restaurants and provide info for free to websites?
For those who don’t know, Yelp.com is a social network where users can review restaurants and other businesses. Think of a Fodors book written by the general public. The site initially got growth in SF by sponsoring parties and using personal connections of the team. Expanding beyond that I see a huge challenge. Why would anyone besides people who hate or love specific restaurants want to spend time reviewing places for this site.
Other sites provide benefits for people to provide content:
1- Epinions pays people based on the quality of their writing.
2- Judysbook gave away free ipods to encourage people to write about places.
3- Del.icio.us allows people to bookmark their own favorite sites and from the personal benefit a group benefit happens by aggregating what’s popular
For Yelp to be really successful they have to answer the question of Why users will want to keep helping them grow their business. The current offer is an ‘elite’ badge showing you are the biggest sucker on the website for writing tons of reviews.
Why are so many users doing all this work for free?