In analyzing the dining options in other Gulf states, Yadig found more than 600+ dining establishments in the rest of the GCC, with residents and tourists able to share their real-time perspective on these venues just by registering on yadig.com.
Yadig’s intelligence- gathering is part of the online review destination’s efforts to broaden dining and entertainment opportunities for both regional residents and visitors by enabling them to offer consumer reviews and share immediate insight on their experiences at specific venues.
Restaurants and night-spots are the venues creating the most buzz in Yadig’s initial phase, but the site’s founders expect that the community will broaden to encompass home services, leisure attractions, entertainment, retail destinations and sporting events.
“In creating Yadig, we saw several opportunities to serve as a tool to people living in and visiting the Middle East. First, people want to be made aware of new venues and a key way to get a feel for the diversity of dining options in a specific city is to go online and see what others think about it. Whether you want to broaden your scope of popular local hangouts, share your thoughts on great and not-so-great dining experiences or simply voice your opinion on the latest night club, Yadig is a quick, fun and collaborative community in which to do so,” said Saif Al Zarouni, founder of Yadig.
Al Zarouni, an online enthusiast with roots in both the UAE and US who founded Yadig along with the site’s chief technology officer, Johnny Huntington, sees Yadig as an innovative hybrid of a number of Internet-based concepts which ultimately empower consumers.
“The expression ‘Ya dig?’ is all about someone understanding your viewpoint, and we’ve seen from the popularity of travel websites which rely on user reviews that people increasingly want a degree of transparency and candor about the most happening night spots, the best places to be seen and good dining experiences, before they part with their money. The Middle East is populated by a very plugged-in community of all nationalities who love to socialize with their friends and family and share the latest scoop on both new and well-loved destinations, which is why we believe Yadig will become a thriving community and must-have resource.” he added.
Ease of use is a major draw to Yadig, which enables users to sign up and begin sounding off immediately about their favorite as well as less-loved dining spots across the region. With just 150 characters with which to review a venue, feedback from users is punchy and to-the-point. To foster communication on Yadig, each user’s family and friends can be notified by Facebook when a new review is posted.
To reward members of Yadig for sharing their experiences, the site has a martial arts-inspired ranking of ‘belts’, with new users starting out as white belts and progressing through the colour spectrum to achieve the coveted black belt status through a specific level of engagement with the Yadig community.
Yadig founder Saif, who himself has not yet earned a black belt for his reviews, adds: “The whole point behind Yadig is learning from other people’s experiences while sharing your own. The more people engage regularly with Yadig, the better it becomes as a community resource.”
Collaborating more closely with the businesses named (and sometimes shamed) on Yadig is next step for the online review community, as dining establishments can use the site to reach out to their customers via an immediate and transparent conduit. Also up next for Yadig are a series of mobile applications that can be downloaded onto smart phones including Blackberry’s, iPhones and android enabled devices, making the site even easier to use by individuals on the go.
Monday, December 6- 2010 @ 16:20 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.