Beyond Recommendations: Local Review Web Sites and Their Impact
Online review Web sites have enabled new interactions between companies and their customers. In this article we draw on interviews with users, reviewers, and establishments to explore how local review Web sites can change interactions around local places. Review Web sites such as Yelp and Tripadvisor allow customers to “previsit” establishments and areas of a city before an actual visit. The collection of a large numbers of user-generated reviews has also created a new genre of writing, with reviewers gaining considerable pleasure from passing on word of mouth and influencing others’ choices. Reviews also offer a new channel of communication between establishments, customers, and competitors. We discuss how review Web sites can be designed to cater for a broader range of interactions around reviews beyond a focus on recommendations.