New local search engine Grayboxx has spent over a year developing a methodology and collecting information that offers “implicit” recommendations or endorsements of local businesses. These are represented as scores, called “neighbor recommendations,” and offer an alternative to more familiar review sites such as Citysearch, Yahoo Local and Yelp. Grayboxx founder Bob Chandra says this approach allows the site to offer qualitative evaluations for many more business categories and locations than can traditional review sites that require people to actually write reviews.
Grayboxx is being somewhat vague about the process by which it generates the scores — the algorithm is called “PreferenceScoring” — citing that as its “secret sauce”:
Put simply, our recommendations come from other people in your neighborhood. When folks buy things from a store or make reservations at a restaurant, they are expressing their interest in local businesses. We add up and make sense out of these indications. Our PreferenceScoring™ approach provides recommendations in over 4,000 kinds of businesses.
The site is launching in Burlington, Vermont to illustrate that it can offer content where others cannot. Other cities will roll out over the next several weeks and months. You need a Burlington ZIP code to get in — try 05401.