You know those sites that have a name that is in no way related to what it does? Lunch.com is one of those.
Lunch.com is a reviews site, with the goal of changing the way people think about each other. You rate things (books, games, movies, etc), and the site will tell you how similar you are to other people on the site. Cute, but not a whole lot of practical going on. However, it’s the newest feature, “Communities,” that really might make people sit up and take notice. This ability allows users to create their own niche review sites. There are already communities based on reviewing strollers, gluten-free products, obscure movies, college fashion, haunted locations and many more. Certainly, the possibilities are endless. There are major player review sites like Yelp that rate local businesses; this site has found its part of the Long Tail and is catering to interests that may have no other review outlets.
What does this mean to me, Laura?
- As librarians, it’s likely the first thought to strike us about Lunch.com might be “Book reviews!” However, I strongly caution against actually trying this. There are already several large, successful sites that do this well: for example, Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing. These sites have a critical mass that Lunch.com is unlikely to ever duplicate. People want to go where their friends are online. Lunch.com will likely succeed with niche interest groups, not mainstream ones. This could be a handy tool for a library’s book discussion group, but not as a widespread one for every patron.
- Lunch.com is not well-known and is still, technically, in beta. If you decide to start a new community, you will need to promote it heavily outside of Lunch.com in order to attract an audience.
- The site gives users the option to connect with their Facebook login (Facebook Connect), which is very handy.
- Reviews can be of two different lengths–full length reviews, which allow for uploaded pictures as well, and micro reviews, which are very brief.