Here’s a post I contributed to FullStart.com
All business verticals have their own mechanics, some of which aren’t as obvious from the outside looking in. I’ve spent the last 8 years in the wonderful world of ratings, where the acronym PEARL is an easy way to remember an important mechanic. The great thing about PEARL is that it applies to any situation that connects a consumer to a positive experience.
When looking at Yelp, TripAdvisor, RottenTomatoes, Angie’s List and the dozens of other destinations that surface user opinion, you might be hard pressed to say what’s “sticky” about those platforms. There are no photos of cats for you to share, no updates about your niece’s first steps, and no stream of selfies from your friends.
Reading reviews of nail salons is probably not what you like to do in your spare time. Yet, 3 of those companies went public last year and the 4th is one of the most trafficked sites across both web and mobile.
That’s where PEARL comes in. PEARL stands for Positive Experience And Recommendation Loop. Think of your friend who makes great restaurant recommendations. It all started the first time he or she came to you and said “you’ve got to try that Italian place on 7th Avenue.” You went there a few weeks later and loved it. Now you call that friend whenever you have a question of where to eat.
Your emotions around the great experience and the source that led you there are now tied together. The recommendation was the Italian restaurant, the positive experience was the great meal, and the loop is your subsequent return to that source. That’s PEARL in action in real life.
Now let’s take a look at your digital life. If a website or app provides ratings that help you make a decision, and that leads to a positive experience, you’ll return to that platform the next time a similar decision presents itself. If it’s picking a movie, it might be Rotten Tomatoes. If it’s finding a nice hotel, it might be TripAdvisor. If it’s selecting a great product, it might even be my app, Consumr.
Of course it’s not easy to make good recommendations. It means building up trust, having a deep source of actionable data, and proficiency in quality assessment. But connect someone to a great experience and they’ll be sticky on you when those decisions surface again in the future.
Chris Miller: Doing Cosplay The Right Way
In the Summer of last year, Amateur Superhero enthusiast, Chris Miller set about building a life-sized replica Iron Man suit, as something of an extravagant hobby, with the added bonus of being able to boast the perfect halloween costume. A year on, and an investment of almost $1,500 later, Miller is now using his self-appointed powers for good, by attending local events, children’s hospitals and various charities, wearing his Iron Man suit, to make the day of unsuspecting children.
There are certain legal implications with using Disney’s ‘Iron Man’ trademark, but Chris Miller told Huffington Post, "I would hope they would overlook a guy doing a little charity work and making some kids’ days a little brighter" and we definitely hope that is the case, too. It’s not every day that children get to come face to face with their heroes.
For more, visit The Smiling Anchor.
It’s been a long journey to Consumr 2.0 and there’s a lot to be thankful for. I severely sprained my ankle while running to grab some documents, but I’m thankful it wasn’t worse. I’m thankful for tearing myself away from the office long enough to teach my niece to shoot a bow and arrow (she inspired Consumr!). I’m thankful for understanding loved ones, some of whom are chasing their dreams too. I’m thankful for a great team including my best friend, that helped me go from my drawing on the left to the amazing app on the right. I’m thankful for supportive Consmr users who helped guide the way. And I’m thankful on a strenuous day I was pointed towards dozens of reviewers asking for the return of my old Zagat app.
The work is over. And now the work begins. But it’s okay to stop for a minute and reflect on what to be thankful for…
I left this post in my drafts for way too long. I have to give a big congrats to Alexa, Soraya and Ted for the Foodspotting acquisition by OpenTable. They made me 5/5 with mobile predictions (I said they’d be acquired by a major local player within the next year, and it happened 9 months after I wrote it). More importantly, it’s a great outcome for an amazing team.
I remember eating lunch in the Time Warner Center when a pre-Contently Shane Snow said something like “you should connect with Foodspotting.” I kept a straight face because little did he know things were underway. It seemed like it was more about the impression the team had made on him, not just the obvious fit.
Personally, I think it’s great that a team of good people who love food get to help a big food company better connect people with food. I’ve got some ideas on what they’ll do next, but cheers to the team that made it okay to snap your food!
PIN PRODUCTS YOU WANT IN REAL LIFE WITH CONSMR
As avid recommendation seekers, we know friends are an important part of discovering new products, and one indisputably popular way to keep track of what your friends share, love, and want is with Pinterest.
Today, we’re excited to announce Consmr has launched the first-ever integration of Pinterest on the iPhone. Now you can pin everyday products you like, want, and even share what’s on your wish list or in your shopping bag. Simply scan your favorite Essie nail polish color with Consmr to create a color board to inspire your next manicure, or scan items in your pantry to keep a visual list so you never forget your family’s favorite snacks and dinner ingredients. With Consmr, you can quickly and easily pin right in stores as you shop.
THE NEW CONSMR
For our friends with the new iPhone 5, we have redesigned Consmr to show more information at a glance.
For all our users, the Consmr app update also includes frequently requested features like enhanced user profiles. Are you a Bacon Consmr, Baby Consmr, Vegan Consmr, Clean Consmr…? Select the one that reflects you best!
We installed QR code support, product photo add, and Wikipedia-style editing. Our suggestions are also smarter. We’ll tell you how other products compare in fat content and whether your friends like it or recommend something else. We’ll even show if you should opt for the “generic” store brand if it’s just as good. Just look for the label BETTER BUYS in the suggested alternatives.
As always, feedback is welcome. We want to make Consmr the answer to your questions when confronted with a mountain of options at the drugstore and supermarket. Let us know how we can help take the guesswork out of your next trip to Whole Foods or Walmart! Get the Consmr app update now.
Photo by Alice Gao for Consmr
The FDA has vastly expanded this week’s earlier recall of Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter to include dozens of other peanut butter brands including Sunland’s, Sprouts, Natural Value and more. The recall affects peanut butter suspected of sickening people in 19 states!
What should you do to be safe? Scan your peanut butter at home with the Consmr Grocery app. We’ll immediately tell you if you’ve got one of the recalled products. Scan before you make that PB&J!
photo via http://bit.ly/RRE2h8
An era comes to end today. Post Google acquisition, Zagat is discontinuing their iPhone and iPad apps. This makes me feel nostalgic.
In 2008 I inherited a 2 star iPhone app. It was Zagat for iPhone.
I didn’t have the luxury of scrapping the app so I listened to customers, tried novel approaches and redid the app piece by piece. The app became the #1 selling travel app (most days) and a 4.5 star app for the next 2 and a half years. It was the first to integrate Foursquare and Foodspotting. It drove reviews written right as someone was dining. The iPad app was a launch app with a map-centric design later cloned by everyone else in the space (Yelp, OpenTable, etc).
After I left, not much happened with the suite of apps. I’m sure it had a lot to do with the complexities of an acquisition; a lot of talented people were at Zagat and their development partners. I would get messages from users asking what was going on but I had no clue. There was one update that reversed a key part of the UX and negative reviews started coming in. And then no updates. I couldn’t even open the iPad app for months without it crashing. Zagat went free and the iOS apps curiously stayed in market at full price.
This morning Zagat sent a push notification indicating the discontinuation of the apps. This is a meaningful event. The very thing that showed Google that Zagat was viable in a modern Post-PC world is no more. Did you really think Google bought them because they wanted to print restaurant books?
Google hints at new apps, which is a strange thing considering they opted to not transition a large audience of paid Zagat mobile loyalists. It’s also curious because they 1. have the Google+ Local app directly integrated with Zagat and 2. have direct integration of Zagat into Google Maps on Android and likely in the new iOS Google Maps. Do they need a third Zagat mobile source, competing with Google+ Local?
Things have changed, that’s for sure. A different 4.5 star app fuels my days and I’m lucky and thrilled it has the attention of the likes of Pepsi and Wall Street. It’ll be nice to not get “what the heck happened to your old app” questions. I will miss picking “My friends have a trust fund” when getting recommendations on where to eat out when my buddies are buying.
So it’s ”Check, please" for apps that brought the earliest forms of actually mobile reviews, augmented reality, and tablet app design. Today, the app will give me a great place to get dinner… perhaps for the last time.