Meetup with Zomato Sydney Community Managers

Urbanspoon, the restaurant review site I actively participate in, has the the best external blog post integration system not found elsewhere. It has also been acquired by Zomato recently. I gradually noticed changes on the Urbanspoon site, and had mostly been in denial about the acquisition as I didn’t want to imagine what would happen to my favourite blog feature after what I perceived to be the eventual demise of the site.

So it must be understandable that when I received the email from Nick the Zomato Sydney Community Manager about a meetup, my emotions went from “Ding! Food blogger status level up!” to “THIS IS THE END OF URBANSPOON!” within half a second.

Henley's Wholefoods Alexandria Today is the day of the meetup with Nick and Richa the Community Managers, at the cafe of my choice. After the introductions, food ordering and my trying to hide my THIS-IS-THE-END-OF-URBANSPOON! fears, they proceeded to explain to me the Urbanspoon-Zomato transition process. They demonstrated the Zomato phone app, yet to be populated with Australian restaurant reviews. But more importantly, they assured me that food bloggers will not lose their beloved blog entry integration function, Spoonback! Hurray!

For once, I also didn’t have to explain or apologise for taking pictures of food! smile

This is what I understood about the transition process from our meeting:

  • Urbanspoon’s Spoonback feature will be integrated into Zomato.
  • All existing Urbanspoon reviews and content will be imported into Zomato.
  • Restaurants will be added by Zomato staff, including restaurant menu uploads and photos supplied by the restaurants themselves.
  • Restaurant details and menu will be updated every few months, also by Zomato staff.
  • Restaurant photos will be sorted by official uploads first, followed by user-submitted.
  • The full transition is expected to complete within this year.
  • Zomato Australia intends to run local community events, such as sushi-making classes! (I think I’ll be invited to some of those!)

Main differences between Urbanspoon and Zomato that I picked up:

  • Zomato operates globally across 20 countries and has local offices in each city here in Australia. Urbanspoon is a Seattle-based company of 40 staff.
  • Zomato has compulsory ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 stars in half-star increments. Urbanspoon has optional like (“I like it”) or dislike (“I don’t”) buttons and an overall percentage of how many people liked it.
  • Zomato has a weighted system where reviews of more trusted users will become the top reviews. Urbanspoon reviews are mostly listed in reverse chronological order.
  • Zomato restaurants can only be added by Zomato staff. Urbanspoon restaurants can be added by other users.

Questions I wish I’d asked:

  • Zomato has compulsory ratings. How would current reviews on Urbanspoon — favourites, likes, dislikes, neutral (no like or dislike), wishlist — be transferred over?
  • What happens with current Urbanspoon users who have earned the “Prime” status (most active users, of which I’m one)?

I guess I’ll have to find out on my own later.

Thank you for your time, Nick and Richa! It was wonderful of Zomato (Australia) to organise this and I do feel a lot more reassured after the meeting. I look forward to participating in the Zomato community once THIS IS THE END OF URBANSPOON! it launches for Australia with all the amazing features of Urbanspoon integrated later in the year! The next time we meet up, maybe I’ll remember to take a picture with you two as well!





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