Each time I wish to get a restaurant suggestion or learn a assessment a few spot, I often flip to Google. Good, previous, trustable Google with its hundreds of thousands of search hits in simply a few seconds.
At this level, I don’t assume I’m open to altering my tendencies. However this Malaysian app goals to problem that behavior in me and numerous different locals.
Known as MyComments, this app is basically like Yelp or TripAdvisor. Customers can primarily write feedback for eating places, life-style spots, and extra.
So… what units it aside from Yelp or TripAdvisor, the latter of which is arguably fairly standard right here too, then? Earlier than we get into all that, right here’s how the app even happened within the first place.
Taking inspiration from overseas
Having lived in Shanghai for ten years, Lim had witnessed the rise of dianping.com, which had gone from a assessment website providing group shopping for to one of many largest on-demand supply platforms right this moment.
Self-described as a real fan of the location, Lim was decided to carry the idea residence to Malaysia. He believed that many Malaysians may know of dianping, however it didn’t even have a foothold right here when it comes to utilization.
He kicked off the concept in 2013 utilizing his personal funds with just a few different companions on his aspect. Considered one of them was Anson Leong, who primarily labored without cost again then.
When requested about why Anson determined to work with Lim on the mission pro-bono, he didn’t hesitate to reply.
“The very first thing is, I belief him,” Anson stated. “This is essential to me.”
Anson knew him from a earlier job and believed in Lim’s angle and skills.
“We began very early, however it was a part-time mission,” Lim defined. “We all the time needed to make it a full-time one, however our assets have been very restricted. However we didn’t quit.”
Final yr, the crew lastly raised their first spherical of investments from family and friends. MyComments now has two full-time workers, together with Anson.
So, again to the query of what MyComments presents that units it aside from different assessment apps.
“The differentiation is on native content material, becoming into social-cultural expectations of Malaysians,” Lim elaborated.
One apparent means is catering to the Muslim demographic in Malaysia. Aside from a halal tab on the primary web page, Muslim customers will also be prompted to make use of the Muslim-friendly settings upon opening the app.
In response to the crew, the app additionally has translation options by Google, so customers can click on on the choice and the interpretation will seem primarily based on the person language cellphone setting. That is helpful for a multilingual nation like Malaysia.
One other characteristic is curation. MyComments’ crew describes the platform as a “digital journal”, notably because of the Prime 10 record and the video content material they produce.
The Prime 10 record mainly homes native content material and listicles resembling “Prime 10 Nasi Lemak in Better KL Beneficial by Netizens”, “Prime 10 Free Entrance Hotspots in Ipoh”, and extra.
“Google is ‘search’, MyComments is ‘browse’,” the crew simplified.
As a smaller, native platform, MyComments can be in a position to hook up with its customers extra and reply to suggestions extra effectively.
Fixing retailers’ ache factors
MyComments’ present enterprise mannequin depends on retailers signing up for its digital promoting system.
With a base worth of RM12.50 per day, retailers can primarily enhance their shops to wider audiences as they’re given precedence in search outcomes with the assistance of location-based companies.
These paying retailers additionally get entry to the Enterprise Console the place they will write their very own store descriptions, add official movies and pictures, and publish their Enterprise WhatsApp hyperlinks for bookings and orders.
Retailers may publish ongoing promotions or coupons on their pages to drive up curiosity. In response to Lim, MyComments doesn’t earn any commissions off redemptions of those coupons.
Believing that adverts on websites like Google and Fb are costlier these days, MyComments thinks its packages are extra invaluable. This can be true, however the consequence all comes right down to MyComments’ attain.
A difficulty hindering this, although, is that MyComments lacks credibility. Not many learn about it, even supposing it’s been round for some time.
“The factor I’m fairly nervous [about] is that folks don’t know who we’re,” Anson stated. “Are we a rip-off? Are we trustable? That is the issue.”
To realize Malaysians’ belief, the crew goals to up their media publicity and transparency.
My feedback on MyComments
To be trustworthy, I nonetheless had some doubts left even after listening to the crew communicate concerning the app. Whereas the app is considerably energetic, it’s positively quite a bit much less populated in comparison with standard, well-established websites.
But, I do see the attraction of the app. Whereas there are some kinks with the languages to kind out, the UI and UX of the app are clear and approachable.
The app feels very very like a cushty, healthful platform for Malaysians to share little titbits of data with one another.
Nonetheless, I questioned whether or not there’s an urge for food for this. Particularly on this age of social media, the place anybody can simply search for an influential meals or journey account to search out trending locations to go to.
That is exacerbated by the truth that an idea like this isn’t distinctive.
Aside from the aforementioned apps resembling Yelp and TripAdvisor, there’s additionally KLOOK, a well-liked choice accessible in Malaysia.
It lets customers search for journey and F&B locations on prime of different actions and even e book these packages immediately on its websites. Given, it’s not primarily a assessment website, however clients can go away opinions and rankings too.
Nonetheless, this business is probably going sufficiently big for a number of gamers. MyComments has its work lower out, although, because it gained’t be simple attempting to develop visibility and consciousness within the shadow of extra established giants.
However there’s little question that the crew behind MyComments is passionate. And so they’re optimistic. That’s what stored them going from 2013 till now.
And maybe that optimistic outlook and perseverance are effectively worth-it; MyComments is lastly kicking off its service provider mannequin, having signed its first service provider not too long ago. In response to Anson, there are 10 to twenty extra retailers who’ve verbally agreed to affix in on the app.
This optimism extends to MyComments’ future. Speaking to the crew, it looks like they’re concerned about creating some type of all-in-one life-style app that makes peoples’ lives extra handy. As soon as once more, this concept isn’t something new, however we’re to see how MyComments may put their very own tweak to it.
In brief, MyComments goals to be an app created by Malaysians for Malaysians. It’s an area for locals to alternate suggestions and opinions.
In fact, its longevity will come down as to whether the crew is ready to proceed advertising and marketing it in a means that’s related to our ever-changing content material consumption habits.
- Study extra about MyComments here.
- Learn different articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Anson Lim, Director at MyComments