This has been the year for new sites that combine service directories and social features such as ratings and reviews. Earlier this year, we saw sites such as RedBeacon, HelpHive and others launch. Depending on definitions, earlier entrants include Citysearch, Yelp.com, Tree.com’s Done Right, FixR , LocalPrice, Insider Pages and Center’d.
Behind their fancy Web 2.0 veneers, they are all going after an SMB leads market that has previously been defined — and is still being defined — by ServiceMagic, Angie’s List and the Yellow Pages.
Now along comes AlikeList, a new contender backed with $5 million from Syncom Venture Partners. As the name implies, the 15-person company enables people to save their local business recommendations and share them with friends via Facebook and eventually other platforms. It also plans to bring together local groups such as Home Owners Associations and PTAs. At the same time, it has an “all members” section that goes broader for Yelp-like recommendations from the general community.
This new service efficiently connects all the dots of Web 2.0 marketing. In a single dashboard, it provides reputation management services, and provides full reporting on Web site clicks. If services have 20 or more listers, they can create instant direct marketing packages, with coupons, updates, etc. On the business side, businesses will pay on a monthly basis for membership, and a per-contact basis for jobs they receive.
What we see is it all seems well executed, especially with its highly usable map features (one of its execs is a former MapQuester). But frankly, all of the new entrants look good.
Earlier Facebook-oriented services such as Loladex couldn’t get the traction they needed, and were ghettoized by relying too heavily on Facebook. But AlikeList’s timing ought to be better in terms of technology adoption, plus it has more money. In coming months, we’ll be studying this one closely to see whether it will stand out.