Over the past decade, one of the leading lights in local search and leveraging local content has been Matthew Berk: first as an analyst at Jupiter anticipating key trends, then with his startup , OpenList, which was purchased by Marchex, where he later served as EVP and developed Open View, a local and vertical directory that collected and semantically sorted information for thousands of contextual categories from all over the Web.
Berk’s new project, Lucky Oyster, goes back to his roots in helping people find local information and services – this time by capturing word of mouth reviews. And keeping them top of mind. Berk notes that there has been a rise in popularity in user generated reviews and ratings on the Web. The number one source of reviews is still word of mouth – and it isn’t really supported by technology.
“People receive recommendations all the time,” he says. “But they forget them. And if they ask for recommendations in Facebook, they don’t even see the reply.” Lucky Oyster, a mobile app, has been in development for less than a year.
Based in Seattle, it has been developed to allow people to set up “pearls” of wisdom that can be categorized by apps, categories and by person. Berk notes that the system has been developed as a reminder system as much as a recommendations service – people don’t always remember what they’ve done or seen. The viral effect is already clear in some ways. Berk notes a local Yoga studio in Seattle picked up 20 new students after a strong recommendation by a new student.