The Indian website Zomato that helps in discovering more places to eat and hangout has strengthened its global presence. Headquartered in Delhi, the company has added five new international cities across three countries. Besides this the portal that has slowly transformed into a foodie social network has done a major upgrade to its site, thus making it more social.
Adding to the 21 cities it was present in so far, Zomato has now expanded its reach in South Africa (Cape Town), the United Kingdom (Manchester, Birmingham), and entered the New Zealand market (Auckland, Wellington). Back home, Zomato also added to its list of Indian cities with the launch of its Guwahati section.
The site, which sees a monthly traffic of over 14 million users worldwide across its web and mobile properties, has done some major changes to its foodie network. Some of the key features that needs a mention are:
1. User moderation of reviews have been introduced in the new design. Super Foodies and Connoisseurs profiles will now be able to report a review as suspicious or fake.
2. Ability to uploading pictures to restaurants has been introduced too.
3. Users will be able to comment and ask follow-up questions on reviews.
4. Foodies will be allowed to get in touch with each other and plan meetups by messaging each other on the network.
5. Advanced review spam detection and reviewers would be going to be approved by Zomato. From now on new reviewers on Zomato will have to at least publish 10 reviews and get their profiles approved from Zomato moderators before their reviews become publicly visible.
Speaking about the changes, Deepinder Goyal, Founder & CEO, said
“The goal of personalized ratings is to protect users from the insane amount of information that is created on Zomato every day. Now, users will be able to create their own trust circle of restaurant recommendations. This should help our users to zero in on their next dining destination more easily.”
The majority of changes reflect Zomato’s belief in user generated content, which is a great move. But networks with user generated content face a big challenge in moderating the content or reviews as in the case of Zomato. The additional checks by Zomato are required and at the same time giving community the power to report reviews as suspicious or fake, is a long term thought. For Zomato, content moderation on a ongoing basis is not scalable.
During the Lemp Brewpup and Kitchen incident that highlighted a shocking case of bad customer service, the restaurant saw a massive southward fall to 1.3 from its earlier 3 point something rating on Zomato, after a negative blog post went viral on Twitter. One of the concerns that was highlighted by Lemp then was that most of the reviews were fake, hence leading to its downfall on the site. With the latest design changes in place, Zomato will help resolve such concerns.
Going further Zomato has plans to expand its reach into continental Europe, the Middle East, South America and South-East Asia, by this calendar year.