Another Approach to Local Search
I work for a venture-funded startup, Judy's Book, that approaches local search a bit differently. Our belief is that there are three core things consumers want to know when conducting a local search: what businesses are out there, where are they located, and are they any good?
Our starting point is enabling friends and groups to swap information about local resources. We're doing this not by simply slapping a "review this business" feature onto a directory, but by carefully weaving together a number of different mechanisms for establishing a true sense of community and trust. This benefits consumers because it helps them more efficiently locate good businesses. It helps small businesses because it offers them a very simple value proposition that they understand: building a better relationship with customers whose positive word-of-mouth already drives so much of their business. We feel it's this simplicity that will finally encourage small local businesses to make the leap online.
Liesel Pollvogt, Judy's Book, www.judysbook.com