The project I'm currently working on has a major component related to local reviews, so it's extremely interesting to watch how similar models such as Insider Pages, Yelp, Trusted Places and the Sydney-based Rave About It are travelling.
Leanne Prescott at Hitwise has some stats on the US based sites. The top line is that Yelp's traffic is up 91%, and Insider Pages up 34% in the past six months.
Trusted Places is a smaller concern concentrating on food in the UK and Europe, and Rave About It is too new to register much in the way of traffic (or listings) yet.
But for Yelp and Insider Pages, despite being smaller UGC-focused review sites compared with the bigger players in local search such as Yahoo! Local and Google Maps who received more than ten times the market share of visits of Insider Pages in February 2007, the future is bright.
In Australia the local directory and online marketplace, has seen a few trends emerge in recent months. Gumtree, dLook and TheTrove are three particularly interesting cases.
The overall effect of the entrance of these and other smaller players is a shift in the traffic distribution to the online Classifieds industry. While the top 10 Classifieds websites accounted for 83.1% for the week ending 21 January 2006, they now comprise 75.3% for the week ending 20 January 2007. The decline of 7.8% in combined market share for the top 10 players means we're seeing a more competitive industry