Insider Pages is a new service that allows you to signup and join a network of friends so you can easily swap reviews of businesses in you and your friends area. I really like the idea of keeping reviews in a friends network because lately I have been coming across yellow pages that provide reviews, but the reviews actually have reviews from the company it self or even from people paid to write good comments about the company. With Insider Pages, this is eliminated because you only see the reviews you want to see, reviews from people you know and trust. The concept is great, so I decided to give it a try.
First thing that you notice right away is the beautiful design. It is very clean, organized, and easy to read typography. The service is free, so I signed up and was all set in a matter of minutes. When first logging in you will see the main page, similar to what you see above. You get an overview of your account on the left column with information on friends, reviews, and invitations. In the middle you will see the latest reviews and on the right are the top ratings and searches. I then went to the “Account Profile” section and filled in more details about me. I noticed they have a field for “Blog URL,” but it is disabled. Wonder why that is? Is there a point in that you will be able to? Anyways, I filled out the rest of the form and submitted. My next step was to invite someone.
You are not required to invite anyone, but it really is the whole point of the service. Build a network of people that you trust so you can get accurate reviews on businesses. So, I sent an invitation to my brother so he can try it out with me. He received the email and went to the site. He then had to register and once getting through that, he was now in my network, as you can see above. Now that he’s in my network, I wanted to search for a business and then review it.
To find a business in my area, I simply went to the “Search for Businesses” section and selected a category. There are not many businesses in my area, but I did know that we have a Cingular in our area, so I viewed the mobile phones category to see if they would come up. They did and I saw that there were no reviews for it yet, so I decided to add one as I have purchased a phone from them before and still use their service. When you find a location you are interested in, you can click on the name for more detailed information or you can click on the, “Review this business” link. First, I will make the review and then show you the details page. Making the review was very simple and only took a few minutes. You select a rating, 1-5, give it a title, and fill in your review. The review requires at least 150 characters and has a limit of 2,000 characters. You then can fill in any pros and cons in and then select if you want to share the review with Inside Pages all members or just the members that are in your network. You can also hide the review from the company itself if you don’t want them to see it but still allow your friends to. I submitted and the review was made. Now, lets look at the details page.
The business details page provides you with contact information, rating, reviews, and I was also happy to see the use of Google Maps. You are given the contact information on the top left which gives you a telephone number and its address. On the right of this is the Google Map. Below this are the reviews for the business that allow you to see the rating from the reviewer, the review, and also who the reviewer is. I feel that this page was very well layed out and makes it very easy to find information about a business.
To see reviews from your network only, you simply go to the “My Network” section. You will then see a listing of all your friends in your network and even friends of your friends. You can then view their profiles to see all of their reviews. As the network builds up, you get a more trustable set of reviews to look at about businesses. That is a huge plus in my book.
There are also other services like Insider Pages that are worth taking a look. In fact, TechCrunch has written a review about Yelp just yesterday. Yelp is a service very similar to Insider Pages that allows you to create a network and review local businesses. It is only available for San Francisco as of now though. Another service that you may be interested in that I really like is called, Judy’s Book, which TechCrunch has also reviewed. I highly recommend Judy’s Book. The community their is excellent and their are quite a bit of reviews.