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Bizzy Gets Makeover, Launches Recommendation Engine

winning contest
. / Credit: Contest Image via Shutterstock

Bizzy.com, which started as an online search tool for consumers to find local businesses in 2009, got a major facelift this week as it entered the Beta world and transformed into a community-driven recommendation engine.

Unlike Yelp – where consumers often go to see how other people rate certain businesses – the new version of Bizzy doesn’t have reviews and instead asks users to fill out a questionnaire about their favorite places. The site takes the responses to create a list of businesses to check out based on answers from similar users. Bizzy then e-mails the list to a user.

“We think this is going to change the model of finding local businesses,” Bizzy President Gadi Shamia told BusinessNewsDaily. “What people really want is to discover new businesses.”

Shamia said the problem with listing and review sites is they tell you where you can go and not where you should go.

“On these sites, everyone gets the same answers. In a search for ‘restaurants in Dallas,’ the executive who likes steaks and martinis at fancy wood-paneled restaurants gets the exact same answer as the budget-conscious vegan fresh out of college,” Shamia said in a statement. “When they both search for a place to eat, should they get the same suggestion? We don’t think so.”

With its Beta version still in its infancy, Bizzy must wait until enough people fill out the questionnaire before it can properly offer local recommendations. When that time comes, users will be able to browse personalized recommendations based on rank, category or trends. Users also will be able to search for specific types of places and the results will appear based on users’ personal recommendations.

As of noon Thursday (Nov. 4), users have “favorited” nearly 40,000 locations.

“Bizzy will provide businesses with a higher chance to convert consumers into repeat customers,” Shamia said.

Bizzy plans to launch a mobile in application November.

“With Bizzy, there are no reviews to sift through, no conflicting reports or ratings and no wondering what kind of person wrote the review or even whether or not they are even real,” Shamia said. “Life is too short to read irrelevant reviews or eat at bad restaurants over and over again.”

Shamia said Bizzy has powerful tools for businesses to attract customers. Here is what’s in it for businesses, according to Bizzy:

Discovery: The more people that favorite you on Bizzy, the more networks you reach, and the more often you are recommended in searches, which means even more people mark your business as a favorite. It’s a self-propelled discovery cycle.

Calculated serendipity: We know a lot about our users, so your business is surfaced to people who are likely to favorite you based on their tastes and preferences. That means, by your sheer existence on Bizzy, new customers are finding you, just for being you.

Content: You publish updates that are delivered to the feed of everyone that counts your business among their favorites. Those updates come in the form of news, tips, special offers or events. The more share-worthy the better, because we also we show your content to people who don't know you, but should know you based on their other favorite businesses.  That gives you an even wider distribution channel for your content.

Viral distribution: Your news, events and offers are shared by Bizzy users on Facebook, Twitter and via e-mail.  When you post great stuff, it gets shared outward, and your reach is extended even further.  Post something share-worthy and watch the sparks fly.

Dedicated space: People get way too much e-mail, and it’s tough to be heard through all the chatter on social networks. Bizzy is a dedicated space where people come for the express purpose of finding their favorite local businesses and discovering new ones. Your messaging does not get buried between family pictures and Farmville updates.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer Brian Anthony Hernandez at Bhernandez@TechMediaNetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and become his friend on Facebook (BAH Journalist) to interact or stay updated on news about small businesses.