Growth Matters: Qype finds the best local services

With all the gloom in the global economy, I got to wondering whether there is anything else going on in the world of business. I'm looking for growth because I think that's what will ultimately bring the economy out of the doldrums. Not surprisingly, that growth is coming from technology companies. In Growth Matters, I look at consumer technology companies that point the way to growth trends -- and in the process introduce services and products you may want to explore.

If you're new to a city or town, how do you find out where the best dry cleaners and restaurants are? If you've used Qype then you've got your answer. I interviewed, Andrew Hunter, General Manager Qype.co.uk, who said, "Qype is your local community online. It's a great way for people to discover the best places in their local area -- from restaurants and bars to libraries and book stores. Qype is also a great way for local businesses to connect with their existing audience and attract new customers."

Qype has grown substantially. According to Hunter, "Qype was founded in November of 2005, and since then has become the largest user-generated local review site in Europe. [Qype is] present in 9 markets with 250,000 active users and 1 million user-generated reviews. The site attracts over 7.5 million unique visitors every month and is growing fast."

Qype makes money in two ways: fees from service providers and advertising. According to Hunter, Qype generates three kinds of fees from service providers: "Referrals, affiliation, and our own premium listing product. [Qype is] particularly proud of the premium listing service since it allows businesses to showcase themselves on Qype. It also generates revenues from traditional display ads."

If Qype can help local businesses build their revenues in an economic downturn, it will be a valuable service to the economies in which it operates. If you've used Qype, what do you think?

Peter Cohan is president ofPeter S. Cohan & Associates. He also teaches management at Babson College. His eighth book isYou Can't Order Change: Lessons from Jim McNerney's Turnaround at Boeing. He has no financial interest in the securities mentioned.

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