Zomato in Melbourne to Hit The Heights
Zomato in Melbourne is poised to hit the heights. Having purchased Urbanspoon for around $66m, Zomato has gained access to new markets to expand on its already strong global presence. The Indian based company is set to add new services and is more than just a review based service. Community Manager Pranav and his team have been super busy connecting with cafes, restaurants and bloggers, and setting up the infrastructure that is Zomato. The World Loves Melbourne has been part of a couple of "meet ups" with Zomato and welcomes the greater interaction and features that Zomato provides.
Urbanspoon was the premier food review site in Melbourne and through Zomato this is set to continue, with more features being added. We are told the monthly visits for Melbourne on Zomato is around 2.6 million, which is staggering. With this amount of traffic it's no wonder Zomato want to better utilise this asset (we would!). As a top blogger on Urbanspoon we rarely ever heard from them, and the contact was almost non-existent. At one stage The World Loves Melbourne was number one in the world on Urbanspoon yet they never contacted us, which we found a little strange. Zomato, on the other hand, has community managers that keep in relationship with bloggers in each city, and we connect for meet ups at local cafes and restaurants. We conclude that Zomato will better have it's finger on the pulse, and unlike Urbanspoon, has a large presence in key foodie cities. Zomato are expected to employ 400 people in Australia - so we are thinking there's a serious business model to generate revenue multiples on this investment.
Pranav Singh the local Community Manager in Melbourne is affable and professional, already well connected in Melbourne and making an impact with his team. He has a sales team that visit cafes and restaurants most days to keep his lists updated and for new business. you won't find aged photos and menus on Zomato - the profiles are regularly updated.
Here’s a rundown of what’s changed (from the Zomato site).
- The rating system. Urbanspoon had a Like/Dislike voting system, but Zomato uses a 5-point rating scale. Percentage scores from Urbanspoon have been translated into 5-point scores on Zomato, and Likes/Dislikes from users’ profiles have been moved over to Zomato as ‘Positive’ and 'Negative’.
- The review system. Zomato allows only one review per user per restaurant. Why? We believe that the most recent experience you’ve had at a restaurant is the most relevant one. Multiple reviews for the same restaurant from Urbanspoon have been merged into one, broken down by date of submission. These can easily be edited to reflect the most recent experience you’ve had at that restaurant.
- Choice. Lots of it! Adding to all the existing locations on Urbanspoon, you can now explore restaurants in 22 countries (and counting) globally. There are over 1 million restaurants to choose from in 10,000+ cities, so the Zomato app is a trusted companion to take with you on holiday.
- Your personal Food Journey. This timeline helps you keep track of all the places you eat at, with chronologically sorted reviews, photos, and check-ins. Scroll through it anytime you want to relive your foodie memories (or if the name of that amazing place you ate at a few months ago eludes you). Another change you’ll notice on your Food Journey is that check-ins from your Dineline appear as 'Been There’ on Zomato.
- Wishlists and Favorites. All Wishlists and Favorites have been moved to Zomato as Bookmarks, which you can find on your profile page. On the desktop site, Bookmarks can be filtered by city so you know what’s around you, and find what you’re looking for even quicker.
- Spoonbacks. This one’s for all the bloggers. While Spoonbacks are still active, Zomato requires blog posts to be published manually, and a rating to be added to each one, before posts can appear on restaurant pages. And since we’re firm believers in pictures being worth a thousand words, you can also attach photos to your posts and tag friends you were dining with before publishing. If you’re a blogger and want to get started posting on Zomato, head here.
- Leaderboards. Leaderboards on Zomato help identify the most prolific contributors in a city. A review or blog post on Zomato earns 25 points, while every photo uploaded earns 2. Leaderboard positions are earned (and defended) depending on points earned in the past six months. We also have a separate leaderboard for bloggers, and one’s position on that depends on how many restaurants one has written posts for with Spoonbacks.
- Login-only apps. Unlike Urbanspoon, the Zomato app requires one to log in. The only reason we ask for this, is to be able to personalize and customize the product experience. This includes trusted recommendations from friends and Bookmarks for easy access. And since this has been a point of concern, we take security and personal information seriously, and will never share/sell information to anyone, ever.
Everything’s also already available on the Zomato mobile apps, which you can download for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. In addition to the features we’ve already told you about, the apps also give you one-tap access to nearby restaurants, a cool draw-to-search map, and beautifully designed Collections. You can also check in at restaurants, tag friends, and add photos and reviews while on the move. You’ll also notice a couple of features aren’t available anymore, such as the shake-to-search feature and Guides, but there’s a whole lot more to explore with maps and Collections.
The World Loves Melbourne is taken by the much improved photo quality and interface of Zomato. We are no longer greeted by daggy photos. When you log in you are greeted by a city feed (which can be changed to your personal feed), a more useful interface than on Urbanspoon. The Zomato app greets you with stunning photos of food, making you want to visit a cafe or restaurant instantly!
The World Loves Melbourne attended a recent Zomato meet up with other Melbourne bloggers at Luxembourg (above).
The new scoring system of scores out of a maximum of 5 replaces the old Urbanspoon percentages out of 100. We discovered the translation is not just a halving of the Urbanpoon score translated out of 5, but scores are "normalised" based on a weighting system.
Zomato also has on-line delivery services and booking services (not through Dimmi as per Urbanspoon), and plans to add other services as time goes on.
For some years The World Loves Melbourne was ranked number one on Urbanspoon in Melbourne and more recently number two. With the new regime of Zomato we are likely to be further down the rankings as more emphasis is placed on how many reviews are posted in a timeframe of 3 months. Which is fine. The World Loves Melbourne is currently number 4 food blog in Australia by Alexa ratings (see www.aussiefoodbloggers.com.au), so it's all good.