Loladex: Your Local Roladex

That’s not exactly the story behind the name but it’s close. Laurence Hooper and Dan Goodman from AOL have founded “Loladex.” The tag line is “local picks from people you trust.” It currently is only available as a Facebook application:

Loladex search

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There’s a list of standard and helpful features that one might expect on local sites. But the bottom line is that the site seeks to tap the already massive Facebook population to create a sticky application based on your network’s “word of mouth” recommendations.

Surprisingly very few sites (not even Yelp) have filters that allow users to see their friends’ recommendations or picks first. The only one that comes to mind is LinkedIn — and that’s in another context of course. Lots of people talk about this kind of functionality but, as a practical matter, it relies on massive participation by your network. Otherwise, the functionality and content turn out to be quite thin. it’s the chicken and egg problem again.

Loladex allows you to see recommendations by “trusted sources,” “friends” and the entire user group.

Choices Loladex

Getting  your network involved and actively participating in another social/local application is very challenging at this point. That’s why the strategy to build this on top of Facebook could work very well. If the site had launched separately as a conventional destination it would be extremely tough slogging. However, if Loladex gets traction on Facebook, the collected reviews and related content could potentially be “exported” to the Loladex.com destination. (Monetizing traffic on Facebook is a problem for third party publishers, which is another motivation to go “off Facebook.”)

Eventually I would imagine Loladex will be a destination separate from Facebook. Facebook is a great place to reach a massive audience but for many users it has lost its excitement and novelty — like a movie you’ve seen one too many times. But for many people it’s still an exciting and interesting place.

On Facebook today there are 526 applications in the “Food & Drink” category, among them applications from Superpages and Citysearch. There’s a lot of noise in the category (Loladex is not just about restaurants and bars, but that’s the primary use case on Facebook.) Of course applications that gain adoption among the members your network tend to do well. And Loladex is a useful application. But being on Facebook is certainly not the “slam dunk” that many people once thought it was.

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4 Responses to “Loladex: Your Local Roladex”

  1. Media coverage roundup « Think Locally Says:

    […] Several of the top analysts in the local-search industry wrote about us: Peter Krasilovsky, Greg Sterling, Mike Boland, and Andrew Shotland.  Peter’s post was also picked up by the Kelsey […]

  2. BusinessWeek on Yelp « Screenwerk Says:

    […] might want to do is develop the ability to sort by “network.” This is something that Loladex has done on Facebook and it’s potentially valuable as a way to filter in markets where there are too […]

  3. Mechanical Zoo: Social + Local Search? « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Mechanical Zoo will turn out to be in fact; but from the description it’s quite intriguing. Loladex is trying to do something similar on a somewhat smaller scale in Facebook, rolling out to other […]

  4. GigPark’s Challenge « Screenwerk Says:

    […] GigPark’s Challenge GigPark is a Toronto-based startup that seeks to create a network of friends so you can tap their knowledge base about local-anything, but predominantly service providers. The company has also built a Facebook application (like Loladex). […]

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