Monday, November 19, 2007

The Answer to "User's quest for trusted recommendations" ...

Note: This press release has been published on 3rd October, 2007. This is just for records and for people who wish to know more about citipals.

There is a universal need to get advise, opinions and recommendations you can trust. CitiPals.com is building a platform that processes and filters information specifically for you, to deliver recommendations, that you can trust.

Problem/Need: It's common on the web, to get reviews, however in most cases the reviewer is not known to you. You also have no way of knowing how much you have in common with the reviewer or how trustworthy the reviewer is.

Solution: Opinions of reviewers are good but opinions from your "friends" are priceless to help you make the right choice. There's an implicit level of trust you associate with folks you know. CitiPals captures this and provides trusted recommendations by weighing in your social network higher. Opinions of folks in your social network are not only weighted higher as you peruse information on CitiPals, they are also displayed prominently along with your 'relationship map' to that user. Your social network on CitiPals comprises of friends ( and their friends, up to 3 degrees ) as well as users you trust. Over time, you might start trusting some users whose opinions have helped you, and/or whose tastes are similar to yours. These are users you trusts, and CitiPals allows you to mark them as "trusted reviewer", and include in your social network.

The notion of trust has been extended to the web at large, and is not just limited to reviews written on CitiPals. CitiPals has adopted the open model of web 2.0. Opinions are aggregated from the web and a CitiPals user can trust someone who writes on other publications, websites and blogs.

CitiPals is launching MovieMatch, which lets a user rate/review a set of 25 movies from 5 categories (it takes only a couple of minutes). You can then compare your tastes with your friends (for fun), or any other user for that matter (more fun). Now, when you read a review from a user who has played MovieMatch, you also know how your taste in movies match up to this user. If your tastes are aligned, you might be more inclined to trust this user's reviews. MovieMatch can be found at http://www.citipals.com/moviematch

CitiPals's slogan is "CitiPals connects you with your friends to help with everyday choices”.

Coverage :

CitiPals currently covers food & dining, nightlife, health and beauty categories in India ( Mumbai and Pune ) along with Bollywood & Hollywood movies. There are plans to cover more categories, as well as major metros and towns across India.

Feature Set :

1) Higher Weighting of reviews/opinions from your social network across the entire site.

2) Relationship map ( showing how a person is connected to you ).

3) Allowing 2-way relationship (friends) as well as 1-way (trusted reviewer).

4) Increased inter-action between users by having features like "Send compliments to reviewer"

5) Making it easy to ask your friends/network for recommendations.

6) Giving user level stats like profile views and review views, to gauge one's popularity.

7) Relevant search eg, if you search for "chinese" in a specific city/suburb, you will see the top-rated restaurants higher.

8) User generated content - business listings, photos, videos, reviews.

9) Aggregation of reviews and videos from the web.

10) MovieMatch – a fun and engaging way to compare your taste in movies with those of your friends.

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