We have seen a growth in Web sites that are dedicated to online reviews. While the movies and music review portals are now a well established phenomenon in Pakistan but reviews on restaurants, educational institutes, health clubs and all things related to our life style are quite rare.To bridge this gap, two web portals have recently entered the cyber space.
Starz is making waves these days as this portal hosts reviews on almost everything and is a perfect city guide. A sister venture of Techtronix, Starz was launched in February. There are many unique entries like religious organizations, ‘night life’ options and financial services, among others. Anyone can write a review by just going through a simple registration process (sans any charges). You can also upload your picture and give more details though most of the users have preferred to remain semi-anonymous.
The reviewing process is pretty simple as almost all of the famous eateries, hospitals, car dealers, shopping centers and professional services spots have been listed on the site. You just have to select one and write a review. You can also add a picture if you want. Restaurants have got the highest number of reviews and understandably so (Islooites seem to be the most active reviewers as there were 60 such reviews for Islamabad while just 49 for Karachi and 41 for Lahore when I last checked). The thing which distinguish Starz from other such sites is that they are offering ‘dinner for two‘ for the reviewers. Each month five prizes will be given in this connection (During Ramadan, they were offering a maximum of Rs. 750 worth Iftaar dinner for two).
There is one issue though. The quality of reviews ranges from excellent to mediocre and the moderators have failed to maintain a certain standard. The standards can be improved if they set a format for reviews like description, photos, prices and pros and cons of a place. Another issue is the design of the portal. Very small fonts and dull outlook is a major turnoff for me at least. Still, the portal will get a high rating because of its innovative style. Right?Wait a minute.
One of our readers recently pointed out that the Web site is a direct rip-off ofÂ Yelp, a popular US-based reveiws site. That’s really an abominable act.
Now a passing mention to Foona, an Islamabad-based eateries review site. The portal is still in developmental stages and just give you the basic pointers about a restaurant ( only limited to Islamabad places currently).