LikeMe, a social recommendation site similar to Yelp.com lets users rate and review local businesses, attractions, restaurants, and clubs. After you join the service, you can upload info about yourself, your favorite places, and your favorite things to do in order to kick start the service's personalized social recommendation engine.
Now the app joins a handful of others (really, just a handful) on the new Palm Pre. But before you go and download this one, there's something you need to consider about LikeMe: their reviews may be compromised.
At the beginning of this year, LikeMe came under fire when it came out that a lot of the reviews on the site were written by ad representatives for Village Voice Media (VVM), owner of over a dozen weekly papers and a LikeMe partner. The reviews, all good of course, focused on businesses that advertised in the VVM papers. Talk about a conflict of interest!
LikeMe on Pre
It's a shame, to be sure, that the quality of this app's content still remains under question as they launch their latest offering on the Pre, a device that certainly needs as many apps as it can get. The LikeMe app even has some great features that take advantage of exclusive Pre functionality, like the ability to send recommendations via MMS straight from the app to friends in your phone's contact list.
The webOS application also uses Pre's GPS service to identify nearby places that have been recommended by your friends and people like you. You can use the GPS feature to share your location with friends, too, turning LikeMe into a combo of a Yelp-like service and a mobile social network of sorts.
Six Months Later, the Questionable "Reviews" Remain
Unfortunately, the accusations about the reviews (or perhaps we should call them "ads") comprise the integrity of the site and make us question the quality of its content. Although we're sure nearly all review sites that rely on user ratings have some outside manipulation going on thanks to business owners who want to counter negative reviews, in this case the manipulation is more of an inside job. And the reviews that were called out in January as being suspect are still on the site today, so obviously the company either thinks they've done nothing wrong or they don't think anyone will know.
Given the small number of apps available for Pre, LikeMe has an opportunity to gain a foothold there due to a lack of competition. Perhaps that's really why they decided to launch exclusively on the Pre - not because of "its ability to multitask and unique points of integration," as their press release says.
But at this point, we think maybe Pre users would be better off opting for the mobile Yelp site instead.
UPDATE: Response from LikeMe:
"Here's the deal...in the beginning we used friends and family to start populating the community. That included VVM personnel and some people from the ad side.
But, LikeMe.Net is not like Yelp. There's no preference with regard to placement of inside words, no front-loading with positive reviews for that category. Recommendations appear for you purely based on the similarity algorithm. Inside words/recommendations are going to present themselves in the order of people most like you. So if the filter determines that you are really like the ad sales rep, you will be presented with those recommendations eventually.
Now that we have 25,000 members, one person or even a handful a people are not enough to tip the scales for placement given the way our algorithm works.