The Local Review Spammer’s Guide: National Edition

October 4th, 2007

As part of my presentation at SMX Local I put together a list of all of the “social IYPs”, or national yellow pages sites that allow customer reviews. There was quite a discussion about how trustworthy these reviews were. Greg Sterling has a recap of that discussion on his blog. Paul Ryan, CEO of Perform Local which runs DoneRight.com, made a big stink about the general worthlessness of customer reviews. But for every naysayer there are just as many, if not more, people who love them. See Jeremy Stoppleman’s (CEO of Yelp) great smackdown response to Paul’s claims in the comment section of Greg’s post.

The fact is however, to paraphrase Mr. Ryan, if there is a system that involves money someone is going to try and game it. So for those of you who are into gaming the system (or just looking for a plumber recommendation that may or may not be from a trusted source) here is a guide to local search sites with reviews including all of the national US online yellow pages sites with reviews and all of the Web 2.0 darlings I could find. If you know of any more please post them in the comments or email me and I’ll add them to the list.


AngiesList (subscription required)








Google Maps






Lopico (out of biz)






Smalltown (not national yet but they’ll get there)




Yahoo Local





Tags: Local Search · Online Reviews

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael Dorausch // Oct 4, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    And let’s not forget about some of the ultra shady tactics some of these directories are engaging in.

    My office received a telemarketing recorded call yesterday from one of the sites on this list with a message that basically said… “you’ve received a low rating, to review your score look at [name of web site]”

    In curiosity, I checked it out. There were no bad reviews. In fact, there were no reviews at all, just a bunch of spammy information and artificially created descriptions of local businesses in my area.

    How pleasant.

  • 2 Andrew Shotland // Oct 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm


    Care to share with our readers which firm made the call?

  • 3 Eric // Oct 4, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Michael — Thanks for including us on the list — it’s BooRah, by the way – http://www.boorah.com

  • 4 Eric // Oct 4, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Oops, meant Andrew, not Michael. I guess we all have problems with names!

  • 5 Andrew Shotland // Oct 4, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Michael. I made the change but all of your URLs redirect to the lowercase “boorah” (as they should for SEO purposes) so you may want to reconsider your branding :)

    - Michael

  • 6 Neil Street // Oct 5, 2007 at 7:21 am

    Two questions:
    1). Does anyone know if any of these sites penalize a business owner for reviewing their own site, possibly by tracking their IP address?

    2). On most of these directories, does your site get moved higher up the list if it has gotten a review?

  • 7 Neil Street // Oct 5, 2007 at 7:23 am

    ps forgot my manners
    Andrew, thanks for that great list!


  • 8 Andrew Shotland // Oct 5, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Points for manners Neil.

    Re does the review matter in the way these directories sort their lists, there are a number where it appears to but most sites do not use this as a factor. Off the top of my head I think Yelp and Insiderpages do so but I’ll have to confirm this.

  • 9 The Daily JDA · Structured v. Unstructured Reviews // Oct 19, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    [...] of the biggest issues with any local review site is the content of the reviews. There are many issues involved, including among others: [...]

  • 10 One Scary Month In Local Search Blogging // Oct 31, 2007 at 10:48 am

    [...] 5. The Local Review Spammer’s Guide: National Edition [...]

  • 11 How Do You Get Local Links? // Nov 28, 2007 at 11:13 am

    [...] – Local directories/classifieds/review communities- see The Local Review Spammer’s Guide  [...]

  • 12 SEO for Businesses With Multiple Locations In The Same City // Feb 19, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    [...] valuable service, to your customers who write a positive review of your business on one of the local business reviews sites and email them to you. Add these reviews to the relevant location [...]

  • 13 Shycon Colorado // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for putting together this resource. I’ve been working on a similar one, but I definitely missed a few and you just saved me a couple hours!

  • 14 Frank // Apr 13, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Well to add another site to the mix, if your interested you can check out MyFriendSuggests.com. It’s less of a local search site and more of a local recommendation site. It uses a collaborative filtering algorithm to predict your specific ratings of places based on your personal tastes and correlations of other users. It also combines a ‘friend network’ to allow you to easily see recommendations made by people you know or know people you know.

    I’m the creator of the site and it was done 100% unfunded so its not quite as polished as other sites and since our site relies on lots of ratings and users were still looking to get over the hump. We’d love any other thoughts on our approach to the local search challenge :)


  • 15 Andrew Shotland // Apr 13, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Frank. I am sure your site is delightful and useful, and I mean no offense, but if I see another local social site I may have to vomit repeatedly.

  • 16 Frank // Apr 14, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Andrew, I totally understand, its pretty frustrating to us as well as we started this before a lot of these sites but since we worked part time at it it’s taken us a lot longer to get going.

    We do think we are different then the other sites because of our algorithim for predicting similarity in tastes. One of the reasons I started this site is I hated always having to search around the web and read through a ton of conflicting review one person loved it the next hated it, and the next…

    At the end of the day I’d always end up calling a friend and asking for a suggestion, hence the site. Then I realized well who cares if they are your friend, if they have a proven record of having similar tastes then maybe we can predict whose opinions will matter most to you and thus make suggestions for you specifically.

    Our results have been good with the limited sample we have, we can predict with about 90% certainty how someone will rate a place.. it should get better when (or if) we get more reviews and ratings.

    Thanks for listening!

  • 17 Andrew Shotland // Apr 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

  • 18 » Recommendation Engine Achieves 85% Success // Apr 23, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    [...] consider when reviewing a location. This is a unique distinguisher for MyFriendSuggests.com because unlike the many other local search sites we can help you find the reviews that will help our users most instead of them reading 100’s [...]

  • 19 What’s Wrong with Local Search Sites // Jul 16, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    [...] local search market has become saturated with sites that basically do the same thing. They allow users to comment on places, give them ratings, [...]

  • 20 Earthquake Survival Kit Item #1: Your Brand // Dec 8, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    [...] to purchase data for web start-ups. Sounds like it might be time to update my spammers guide to local search sites. Given this info combined with the credit crunch, the economy, the war, etc. it also might be time [...]

  • 21 Local Search: Safe Haven Against Google’s New Brand Algorithm? | Local SEO Guide // Mar 3, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    [...] Build up quality inbound links to your site and make sure that your data is up to date on all local search sites and other relevant media.  The more you can look like a local brand and a local website the better [...]

  • 22 Ivan // Jul 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Andrew, Lopico closed in March 2008. Here’s the source: http://jdamer.com/wordpress/2008/03/30/the-end-of-lopico/

  • 23 Robert Bolongaita // Nov 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Most consumers are faced with the issues of relevance and credibility when they search using major search engines and review sites. There are either too many irrelevant results, or they don’t know which review to trust. Social Raves (www.socialraves.com) lets consumers extend their social networks into a platform where they can share their experiences about local businesses with friends, and vice-versa. The intent is to help consumers build their own personalized, authentic, and reliable reference source on great local brands and businesses through the recommendations of family and friends. In this context and environment, fake or fraudulent reviews even if they exist, become less of an issue, or a non-issue at all.