There’s a fundamental problem when it comes to almost any recommendations system that we’ve seen thus far — almost every recommendation comes from a stranger. While I might trust some random guy at a gas station to give me directions, I probably don’t want him recommending where I would want to take my other half for dinner.
The other problem which might not be as evident, but is certainly painful, is that fatigue that you get from negativity. While it might be fun to read trolling reviews once in a while for giggles, it’s considerably less fun when someone leaves a flaming 1-star rating on a place just because they didn’t get an extra piece of bread.
Fidatto sees these problems and CEO Fiona Schlachter and her team are aiming to fix it.
Originally introduced as a Facebook application, Fidatto relies on your Facebook friends to give you recommendations, while not ruling out the fact that you might want to see others as well. While the Facebook application is still going strong, Fidatto has just released its iOS app to allow you easier finding on the go.
The app takes a simple, straightforward approach. Fire it up and you’re greeted with a screen asking you to connect to Facebook. Once that’s done, you can choose to Browse, Ask or Tell, depending on what you’re needing to do.
Recommendations are broken down by high-level sections. So, if you’re looking for a Mexican restaurant, you’ll need to just look at the Restaurant category. In time I’d like to see this broken down a bit more, but as the service is still very new it’s not necessary just yet.
I asked Schlachter how Fidatto was going to deal with the Yelps of the world if they introduced a similar, “friends only” filter. The truth behind what Fidatto is doing really comes to light here –
“We will always maintain our differentiator of only positive reviews. We hear about what I call “Yelp fatigue” where users are wary of what they read there. Are they real or planted reviews? There are so many positive and negative for the same place so how do you decide? When you check Fidatto, you know exactly who made the recommendation and whether you trust them or not.”
There are plans to extend the app beyond just Facebook, but that takes money, talent and time. Facing facts, outside of the early adopter world, most people still rely on Facebook to be their source for trusted contacts, so it makes sense to launch the app, build its content and then expand as factors allow.
Recommendations are easy enough to find, very easy to leave and the results are clean. If you have a recommendation from a friend, it will show a green number. Places that have recommendations, but not from your friends, show only a grey number. If a location has both recommendations, you’ll see a side-by-side green and grey.
Some other plans for the future include an activity stream to show the latest Ask and Tell from your friends, geolocation to show you what’s nearby or to drill down by ZIP code for when you’re traveling, achievements if you wish to participate with them and the automatic population of business names. At present you have to enter that information yourself, so this will be a welcome change.
Fidatto is another of those apps that simply needs users in order to become a huge player in the space. All of the right thoughts and directions are there, but having a reliable database of recommendations is going to be key. If you’re tired of the negativity and trolling or if you’d just prefer to not have to start a whole new network just so you can find a good dentist, then Fidatto needs to be on your iPhone.