With the FB Places launch, we can officially say it: merchant/place reviews are dead. Status updates are the new merchant reviews.
So I asked several folks that followed the announcement closely to provide a more nuanced view of the statement.
From Seb Provencher who had not yet had his first coffee so this opinion is open to revision:
- Status updates (or tweets) are easy to do.
- many people have stopped blogging because doing short-form messages
is so much “easier”, less time-consuming, than a big blog post.
- I think the same thing will happen to long-form merchant reviews.
It’s going to become so much easier to do a quick status update review
using Facebook places (and those will accumulate on the Facebook Place
page) that a lot of people will migrate from doing reviews on Yelp (or
IYPs for that matter) to
For me, Facebook Places is not about “check-ins”. It’s about signaling
socially your location. It’s about structuring a conversation about a
local place and anchoring it to the right place.
From Greg Sterling who responded from his iPad even though it is 6:45 am where he is:
Status updates are not the same or better than reviews in many cases because people won’t offer more than “tips” or sometimes will just create noise: “we’re all here.”
So “try the fries” or the “killer reindeer sausage” doesn’t answer other questions I may have about a place, such as whether it’s good for kids, etc. If FB “aggregates” all this info and does a kind of semantic analysis of it then it may not be as necessary to consult reviews in the future at some point.
It’s also not clear immediately how FB is going to make all this information discoverable. There’s going to be a search component here but the form it takes isn’t yet clear — even to FB.
Seb is probably responding to the mainstream potential/appeal of the product and the idea that people will just write tips or short blurbs rather than reviews.
But reviews will continue to have their place (so to speak) from a consumer perspective. In terms of “references” and SEO that’s going to be an interesting thing to watch here.
Google could access all the API and “Like” button information that is coming out of Facebook equally. And this move puts some pressure on them to “socialize” their own Places I think.
And David Mihm who also is an early riser:
Hyperbole. Ratings are important for a quick look by the consumer who doesn’t want to read through all the garbage. There’s also an actual reviews tab built in by default to FB pages.