If Yelp and GetGlue had a baby, it would probably look something like InTheMO, a new site (still in Alpha) that allows users to get & give recommendations of cool spots around the world. While there are a plethora of review sites for restaurants, clubs and the like, InTheMO specifically targets small social networks as a way to get first hand accounts from your actual friends. The site uses high quality video to give you a sense of various cities and suggest different locales therein.
Start out with a quick rating game of places near you. Click to say whether or not you’d “Rec” (recommend) it and how much it matches your tastes on a scale of 100 (10% being “Forget it” and 100% being “Perfect for Me”) to increase the system’s ability to guess your tastes. Add comments, reviews and photos to places you’ve been, or create a wishlist for places you long to visit. Create new listings for locations that aren’t on the site yet.
Earn “Street Cred” whilst you roam, giving you clout and earning trust amongst your followers. You can also unlock different ranking categories as you earn points. Become an expert by rating frequently in one category, such as bars, theaters or parks and make it to the top of the leaderboards.
While InTheMO is centered around places, it also branches out and asks you to “rec” movies, games, brands, products and more.
Like GetGlue, there is a high amount of usability and “stickiness” to the site. It encourages repeat visits as well as longer visits, as there are a lot of activities to keep you clicking. While the use of game mechanics is somewhat shallow, it is well counter-balanced by a high degree of social interaction. InTheMO relies heavily on status and community, for this reason it is appealing for those who have a great deal of hometown pride and want to be the expert on the coolest hangout spots in their neighborhood. It could also work well for the jet-set type who wants to show off the many different countries they’ve visited. If it’s successful, and the game mechanics are well-balanced, InTheMO could solve a major problem in Foursquare and Yelp’s design: the expert on a place isn’t always the person who is there the most often.
This tautology – equating frequency with depth – is one of the reasons we need a new measure for engagement. Attend Gabe’s opening keynote at Gamification Summit 2011, and you’ll hear him talk about these future metrics.
IntheMO itself has a lot of room for growth, especially given the momentum around location-based apps. It surely won’t be long before they launch a mobile check-in feature, and we hear an iPhone app is already in the works. Since businesses can claim their listings on the site, they’re also likely to begin programming specials and discounts like Facebook Deals or the newly launched Yelp Checkin offers. I for one can’t wait to see what InTheMO has in store, though I can’t help but wonder why it’s not called something like RecEngine or Recster.