Thursday, May 7, 2009

Learning from the best: Urbanspoon teaches AppStoreHQ a lesson

Find iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ
Two-thirds of the Urbanspoon team dropped by Founders Co-op for our weekly all-hands lunch this week, fresh on the heels of their acquisition by IAC. They shared the story of their journey from struggling Facebook app developer to iPhone app superstars, including some of the best (and worst) decisions they made along the way.

Urbanspoon did a *lot* of things right, but one in particular stuck in my head as relevant to our latest company: AppStoreHQ. Long story short, Urbanspoon made it possible for any blogger to get their restaurant reviews featured on Urbanspoon just by including a little widget they called a "Spoonback". The presence of a Spoonback allowed Urbanspoon to sift through the sea of food-related blog content and zero in on just those posts relevant to the restaurant in question. Urbanspoon got the benefit of including the freshest and most original review content on their site, while participating bloggers got exposure, traffic and links from one of the hottest restaurant review sites on the web.

We just completed an iPhone developer survey and one of the most-requested kinds of marketing advice sought by developers was how to get their app reviewed by influential bloggers. As soon as I heard the story of the Spoonback, I realized that we could help iPhone developers get reviews by creating a similar value proposition for bloggers who review iPhone apps. I sat down with Ian after lunch, and late yesterday he sent me a link to this page - our version of the Spoonback, but for iPhone apps instead of restaurants (you can see the badge in action at the top of this post).

Congratulations to the Urbanspoon guys on a great outcome for all their hard work and innovation, and thanks for sharing the story of the Spoonback.