New Start-Up Allows Users to Grade City Blocks

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Local Business Review Site 5StarControl proclaims their opinion of a new mobile and internet start-up, BlockAvenue, in which users can access information and write reviews about specific city blocks.

Local Business Review Site 5StarControl wrote that local businesses may be restrained by BlockAvenue, a new start-up launched in New York City, which aims to grade city blocks and take on other local review sites such as Yelp.

Crain's New York Business released information about a new BlockAvenue, a new internet company where users can write reviews about businesses and local city blocks, and issues grades to each block based on the information.

BlockAvenue, founded by internet entrepreneur Anthony Longo, was launched on September 20th in New York City, Washington D.C., and Boston. BlockAvenue was born out of the business incubator Dogpatch Labs, and was started with $200,000 in capital from angel investors. BlockAvenue uses more than 50 million pieces of data, from crime statistics to online restaurant reviews, to assign a grade to each block of the cities that it covers. The new site plans to be in direct competition with online review sites such as Yelp, by also letting its users write their own reviews of specific locations and local businesses.

Yelp is already entrenched as one of the most used local online review sites. Began in 2009 in San Francisco, Yelp has grown to host more than 78 million monthly users, with over 7 million people accessing the service through the Yelp mobile app. On Yelp, people can search for local businesses, and then read information and other user reviews of the business before they decide to visit it. Yelp is also popular as a form of online marketing for local business, as they host advertising from listed businesses on their site.

New York City, with more than 8 million inhabitants and a metro area encompassing 10 million more, is the largest city in the United States. New York is also considered to be the hub for American business and culture. Additionally, New York also has the highest population density in the US, along with a high amount of cultural diversity, giving it a wide variety of neighborhoods with varying personalities. The city is also the home to a number of major international companies, including Yelp.

The release of another local online review site will allow people to gain an even greater amount of knowledge about a particular business or location. While consumers will benefit from competition and more information, local business owners may be restrained by having even more information about them made public. Online reputation management strategies, such as those by media guru Frank Kern, will be increasingly important following the release of BlockAvenue.

5StarControl is a website on local business news in the area of online review sites.

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