Lunch.com brings yet another reviews site to the table

Haven't we gorged enough on user-generated content? No, says this new site launched by the founder of VirtualTourist.

There aren't many new companies launching at this year's Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, which runs Tuesday through Friday. One of the few that are is Lunch.com, which strives to get a little more juice out of user-generated publishing.

Here's the premise of Lunch: You can review anything you want, from a TV show to a restaurant to a food product to a household appliance. I guess it aims to be, sort of, a Wikipedia for opinions. Founder J.R. Johnson, who started building the site after he sold previous creations VirtualTourist.com and OneTime.com to Expedia, said that Lunch started filling up its private beta by reaching out to frequent Amazon reviewers and received a very positive response.

You're also encouraged to network with other members and filter reviews through its "Similarity Network" function, an algorithm for finding like-minded users and matching them to one another. To ramp up Lunch's assessment of your preferences, you can play "speed-rating" games called Exhilarate, which are structured much like Netflix's recommendation feature.

Quite honestly, I have a hard time seeing people turn to a general reviews site when there are already well-established sites for reviews of businesses, books, movies, and the lot--not to mention a plethora of "social shopping" sites for consumer products. I feel like Lunch could've gained a lot more traction if it had made its debut two or three years ago, when user-generated content was a lot more noteworthy. But maybe that's just me.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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