Keep an eye on the consumer review site Yelp. It is a cross between Craig's List and a local eopinions.com. The challenge of starting a localized review site is consumer participation. The easy navigation and straight forward feel of Yelp plus their ubiquitous marketing campaign (stickers and posters all over San Francisco) are fueling the phenomenom. Once Yelp took hold in San Francisco it quickly spread to trend crazy New York.
The writer Jeffrey O'Brien desribes what happens when you get a good Yelp in a recent Fortune Magazine story. A San Francisco based hair salon tried for years to generate traffic via PR placed features on television and in the newspaper. Business was good, but not great. On March 6th, after a review for the salon appeared on Yelp, the store was packed. We see the same thing at Mimeo.com. Get mentioned in a blog, traffic floods into our print on demand site. Get mentioned in the press, and the traffic is a trickle.
I'd never thought that getting Yelped would be part of our PR strategy. Based on these type of results, it should be our PR strategy.