Does the Internet really need another local restaurant review site? Yes say the founders of Boorah, a new vertical search destination and aggregator of local restaurant reviews. Boorah collects reviews from existing local search and content sites, summarizes and enhances the data and builds additional features on top.
Launched today, Boorah currently covers three U.S. markets: New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But CEO Eric Moyer says that because Boorah aggregates existing review content it will have national coverage by the end of the summer. Somewhat ironically user-generated content on Boorah itself will be limited.
Moyer says Boorah has made the collected content more searchable and accessible than on the underlying sites from which it’s originally drawn. Reviews are mined, scored and parced into four categories, which will remind some of Zagat: Food, Ambiance, Service and a composite Overall rating.
Here are some examples:
There will also be suggestions and collaborative filtering.
The value proposition to the consumer is more comprehensive coverage and better search that allows users (through a separate “smart search” box) to drill down on more specialized queries such as “extensive wine list” or “live music” or “ocean view.” Marchex’s OpenList has a similar methodology and some of the same capabilities.
Moyer told me that there are 15,000 restaurants in San Francisco. Zagat has content pertaining to 800, while Boorah has coverage of approximately 8,000.
Restaurants is the most referenced yellow pages heading and virtually every local search destination offers restaurant reviews. So it will be something of an uphill climb for Boorah vs. established competitors. Yet because there is no dominant brand in local search, opportunity still exists to build a better local mousetrap.
While restaurants is the only category covered currently, the technology the company has built could apply equally to other categories like local service businesses or products.
Boorah isn’t seeking to exclusively be a destination site and is looking to distribute its content to third parties as one of several potential revenue streams.