I make a conscious effort to never write adverts for portfolio companies, but bear with me on this one.
A few weeks ago I wrote a long review on Qype* for a swimming pool in Southampton (read it here and in news paper form here ). I was so delighted with the review (and so angered by the crappy swimming pool) that I decided to cut and paste the review into a letter to the editor of the local rag, the Southampton Evening Echo.
I am stunned to say that last week it was published as the star letter on the highest circulation day for the paper (ah me, I have finally hit the big time).
Why am I telling you this?
The Daily Echo loved the Qype product so much they (unwittingly) reproduced a review straight from its pages.
Qype has loads of great content. My review was a rambling monologue against local government masquerading as a swimming pool review, but Qype is packed full of really well written, relevant and trusted content. Stuff that regional press love. The Southampton Echo loved it so much they took it lock stock onto their old fashioned news paper.
Just imagine how much US regional press would love to have ads from craigslist.
Just imagine how much Yell.com would love to cultivate a community of users as loyal or innovative as Qype or some of its competitors.
This begs one of the most annoying questions from VCs: “if this is such a threat to local news papers**, why aren’t they just doing it themselves?
And there’s the answer right there. They could. But they don’t. And that’s why there’ll always be great opportunities for smart entrepreneurs.
One other reason for wanting to write about Qype is it’s an excuse. For not writing here much recently. For me, Qype is the new blogging. I am stunned (and slightly embarrassed) that I derive so much self satisfaction from spouting off opinions on things from croissants at The Wolseley to the local plumber. But writing reviews has got me hooked.
*Qype is a portfolio company of Advent Ventures.
**of course you can interchange this with MySQL & Oracle, Bebo & AOL, BT & Skype etc. etc.