Who needs another review site in 2015 when social media platforms have become the center of all reviews and communication? It is one of the pretty old ideas and we have few review sites of our own in Dhaka. Moreover, Dhaka Foodies, most prominent of all in Dhaka, is struggling to find a solid business model.
Global space of review sites has more examples to offer. We have seen companies like Citysearch, the leader, to struggle to find a solid business model and then companies like Insider Pages to fail squarely. Yelp, the only exception, has managed to maintain a stunning growth and continue thriving. However, it seems Yelp has reached to an inflection point in recent time. According to a report by WSJ, the company is looking for prospective buyers amid slow growth and rising cost.
However, Bangladesh is different. We are still getting used to the immense power of internet and the scopes and opportunities are limitless. Although social media platforms are pretty powerful in Dhaka but there is no central place where you can go and find opinions about a restaurant, a doctor, or a small business. Done right, Priyo Review can become that place. But it has to solve the problem and understand the context.
Understanding users is critical to the success of any community powered platform. At the core of why Yelp succeeded when many other review sites failed is this incredible skill of understanding users. From the very beginning Yelp focused on users. Instead of working hard to get more users it tried to make its small group of fanatic reviewers happy. It has paid off. As Yelp co-founder Stoppelman said, "we put the community first, the consumer second and businesses third." That explains everything.
Let’s take a look at Priyo Review.
The site looks pretty clean. You can find regional sites including Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barishal, and Sylhet. Navigation is good as well. However, we have one problem with the site. It looks exactly like Yelp website. Almost entire site is a replica, including color, menu bars, names, categories, of Yelp. That’s a pretty bad thing to do. We are not America. Taste of our users is entirely different than Yelp users.
We don’t mind taking inspiration from Yelp. In fact, the idea of Priyo Review is inspired by Yelp and they, may be, ultimately want to become the Yelp of Bangladesh. That’s a good thing because we don’t have one and we would love to have one. But complacency is a startup killer. You get to take your users seriously and understand them and build it based on what they want.
I don’t understand why Priyo went too far to copy everything from Yelp. That does not make sense. A little market research and innovation could make the place a lot better and customized.
The site is getting a decent amount of reviews every day. We could not find specific growth data but it is too early to comment on growth. Many businesses are already listed on the site and Priyo is actively adding businesses everyday but there are not that many reviews. For growth, we think, it could have focused on one division instead of all seven. Dhaka is a pretty big place to review and list all restaurants and places!
Priyo.com is one of the most read Bangladeshi websites. In recent time, it has become a go to place for millennials and newly entered Bangladeshi internet users. It has also raised a decent amount of money from international VCs recently. With decent amount of cash in Bank, it is apparent that Priyo wants to start sprawling and a review site may be the beginning.