James Lowen has had enough of Yelp and believes he has a better solution for consumers looking to discover small businesses.
“Simply put, we are the ‘Anti-Yelp,’” James said. “We know there is a better way to share and discover amazing businesses and are very passionate about providing a solution that does just that.”
James launched besti after growing frustrated with Yelp reviews he considered bitter or completely off-base.
“I got tired of reading through reviews from people who thought they were New York Times food critics,” James said, “and finding places that got negative reviews and one-star ratings that, in my opinion, were clearly misguided and ill-informed.”
Unhappy with the alternatives, James set out to build a better app. The result is besti.
“Our besti app is positive-only and all the content, thus far, has been user-generated,” he said. “This provides a new kind of social discovery experience, one that leads people to new places they will love based on photos and hashtags other users include in their posts. besti is for users, by users, and uber business-friendly as well.”
James said his app generates a more authentic and reliable source of recommendations by only allowing users to post positive reviews about their favorite local businesses.
As far as functionality is concerned, besti allows users to post photographs and comments about their shopping and dining experiences, whether in their own downtown or in Rome, Paris or Tokyo. Integrated features include Google Maps to help locate recommended destinations. The restrictions allowing only positive posts lead besti users to a higher-caliber business where they will experience a stronger likelihood of customer satisfaction.
besti’s goal is to keep its users, reviewers, shoppers, shop owners, diners and restaurateurs on the sunny side of the street.
“By curating a list of top-rated places recommended by friends and trusted sources, besti helps users discover new and hidden gems in their own neighborhoods,” James said. “In addition to supporting small businesses and promoting a sense of community, besti saves its users time and money by eliminating the time-consuming task of sifting through countless, irrelevant reviews on different apps. Only the best places make it into our community. ”
besti’s pivot away from text-heavy reviews toward an emphasis on photos and, in the future, videos, will let users capture their experiences as the app remains out in front of digital trends. Users demand more photos, more videos and expanded search options. Promoting all of these things, while eliminating advertisements, allows besti to align itself with the most important sector of this undertaking—the content creator.
Lowen has also abandoned what he calls an antiquated star-rating system; and he has eliminated irrelevant ads and nonsensical reviews. Also, the platform’s functionality allows besti to give users expanded options with searches and a more efficient way to flag the best businesses in their area.
besti’s outlook for 2023 includes securing 100,000 users and 1,000 subscribing businesses by the end of the year. This kind of traffic, James said, “Will create a viable and thriving app with great content being added every day.”
As James sets compelling goals for the coming twelve months, he is positioning besti to make a solid run at one heck of a target—Yelp. As daunting as this may appear, James and the besti team remain emboldened as the upstart with the never-quit attitude gears up for success.
“We are a small team tackling a huge problem and facing colossal competition,” he said. “But—everyone loves an underdog.”