New Local Search Destination Grayboxx Officially Launches

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.

Here’s my October, 2006 write-up of Grayboxx after a discussion with Chandra and here’s a more recent post after seeing the working demo this past Friday.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search Engines: Maps & Local Search Engines

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.maponics.com/Neighborhood_Maps/Neighborhood_Boundaries/neighborhood_boundaries.html darrinclement

    Since I work for a Vermont company (Maponics), I find it pretty cool that they are emphasizing Burlington Vermont. However, I’m astonished that they don’t offer neighborhood level searching. There are some unique aspects to Grayboxx’s business model, for sure, but with neighborhood boundaries and map data available, most local search companies tag their listings with neighborhoods so users can search using local names. Perhaps that’s in the works there?

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