Goodrec, a recommendation site that was first introduced at TechCrunch50, has launched its online review hub to the public alongside a new iPhone application. The site differentiates itself from other similar sites by keeping reviews short and sweet – users can rate an item as either ‘Thumbs Up’, ‘Mixed Bag’, or ‘Thumbs Down’, and can include only 160 characters of text. The site also covers a very broad range of items, which include restaurants, music, nightlife hotspots, or anything else users submit. You can find the main site at Goodrec.com, and can grab the free iPhone application here.
At launch the site is pre-populated with venues and items relating to nightlife, books, music, and restaurants, but users will be able to add reviews to anything else (they’ll just have to add the product or location first). Users can also request that friends review a given item by sending invitations to through peers through Facebook or Email.
CEO Mihir Shah says that since TechCrunch50, the site has compiled over 100,000 recommendation from its beta testers, the majority of which were submitted through the site’s iPhone application. Shah says that because of the brevity of its reviews, Goodrec is better suited for mobile reviewing than competitors like Yelp, which doesn’t allow users to submit reviews from its iPhone app (likely because the site prefers longer reviews). Aside from the main standalone application, Goodrec is also offering free apps that focus on each category the site covers (the first will be called GoodFood and will offer restaurant recommendations, with more to follow). The site also has plans to quickly expand to other mobile platforms.
The site’s Thumbs Up or Down rating system is also taking a different approach, shying away from the typical 5-star system seen elsewhere. Shah notes that as most review sites compile dozens of reviews for a given item, the average usually approaches three stars, making it difficult to tell if the restaurant or attraction is worth checking out. Goodrec presents these thumbs in a counter form (Digg does something similar), allowing users to immediately tell how positive reviews are without having to read through them.
Goodrec’s biggest problem will clearly lie in getting users, as Sean Parker noted during the site’s presentation at TechCrunch50. With competitors that have compiled years worth of reviews, Goodrec will need to quickly build a catalog of content for it to stay competitive. That said, Shah says the site is off to a good start, averaging over 20,000 restaurant reviews a month in its beta stage.