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Rating platform extends scope

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Online rating platform Yowzit will officially launch its mobile application tomorrow, following the consistent growth of the local site over the last eight months.

Pramod Mohanlal, CEO and co-founder of Yowzit.com, an online platform that aggregates crowd-sourced reviews of selected businesses over 236 categories, says the start-up that was created in July last year has seen rapid and consistent growth.

The latest statistics show 1 500 active reviewers, while over 2 300 user reviews have been published to date. Some 14 748 visitors to the site were recorded during the month of January.

“Now that we have seen that ratings work and that there is an interest among South Africans to share their experiences with businesses, good or bad, we are confident that the launch of a mobile platform is the way to go. We are living in the age of mobility where people rely heavily upon convenience.”

Mohanlal says the site, which he started with US-based partner Steve Wunker, aims to fill a gap in the South African consumer-business market. While Yowzit is primarily about empowering the consumer, he says, it is important to note that the platform is meant to work both ways.

“[Yowzit] is not just to name and shame. While we are more inclined to express bad service, we encourage consumers to use the tool to give credit where it is due. We believe that businesses that have signed up to be independently rated, are expressing their confidence in their products and services.”

Mobile in the mix

Mohanlal says the addition of a mobile platform is likely to change the paradigm of Yowzit, both in terms of the community it will attract and the content that will be disseminated. “I think adding a mobile app will fundamentally change the game in that we will see more students accessing the platform, as well as those who may not have access to social networking sites from work. Also emotion will be captured live, as people will be able to share their experiences as they happen.”

The South African market, he says, is an ideal testing ground for a platform such as Yowzit. “SA is small enough to reach, has a high mobile adoption rate and a nice blend of communities, ranging from the sophisticated market to the more Third World societies.” While it is on the cards to expand Yowzit abroad in future, the start-up will always maintain its distinctly South African origins, says Mohanlal.

“The next phase will be expansion into carefully selected African markets, most likely to places like Mauritius, Botswana and up into Africa.” Wave two and three, he notes, will see the development of further apps, which will be disclosed in due time.

Currently available on Apple and Android platforms, Yowzit is awaiting approval from Research In Motion for running on BlackBerry devices. “We are working with the local and UK offices to finalise the apps.”

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