Table Conversation: See Spot Run

By Stitch on 18 June, 2008

It was inevitable that someone would name a food site after a dog. After all, how many poodles have been named after food? (Here Pickles, or Cookie…) That said, however, it is not surprising that more dining/drinking/just going out sites would come up, given how rabidly we Filipinos are at going out and having fun. isn’t a new idea, though. There have been others ( comes to mind). So, is this new puppy just another mutt? We decided to check it out for ourselves. And I promise to keep the dog puns to myself.

The press release of describes the site this way: sees the millions of men and women who live and work in Manila as the ultimate source of information on the city, and is a venue where locals rant and rave about everything from five star hotel restaurants to fast food joints to carinderias.

Hmm. Ok.

The site is true to itself in that regard. Open it and the first thing one sees are the reviews from the people, whether its a particular branch of North Park or some new place. Of course, this also means a ton of reviews to sort through, if one was deciding on where to go. It looks hip, with some decor going on in their headline icon a’la Google. And the food pictures looked good.

It seems a little cluttered, though. It’s not the amount of information being presented on each page, but how its being done. A quick side-by-side comparison with with clickthecity shows a similar amount of info, but the organization and layout of clickthecity makes it less of an effort to get to anything.

There are also issues with the database. I looked for an Italian restaurant in Navotas and ended up being showed the way to Cantinetta in Rockwell, where the profile said the restaurant had no parking. Eh? Some work on the resto entries and navigation is in order, I think.

Also, while I applaud the populist approach, would there be a way of actually filtering these myriad opinions into usable information for diners? The point of the site is to help people find spots to go to, right? Personally, I don’t relish having to slog through dozens of reviews before I am able to form an informed opinion. Shortcuts? The star system is of course one of the simplest options out there, but that’s done by other sites too. And I honestly don’t get anything out of it. Five stars means it’s good? In what way? Taste? Value? Ambiance? I know that if I read the reviews, I’ll get to the details of those star ratings, but what if I did not have the time?

Do the comments of the members actually become useful to casual diners and browsers? I would think that the populist convention being used by SPOT would be great for establishing and fostering a community, but would it then leave casual browsers out in the cold? It may be too early to tell, since they’ve just passed the 1000 review mark (congrats, by the way), but these are possible foibles to their particular approach.

I find myself asking if I really need SPOT in my life. Is it another ipod in the sense that, now that I have one, I cannot live without it? Sadly, my answer is no.

SPOT’s a cute, lively, yappy puppy. Too bad I’m into big dogs.




Post a comment
  • JUNE 16, 2008 12:18 AM

    mtan said...

    I've tried to use Spot but I think they need to learn from or the city-ist sites (gothamist, etc). Easy layouts, easy search processes, and remains relatively uncluttered. Plus do I really need reviews of all the North Parks?

  • JUNE 16, 2008 12:59 AM

    A. Stich said...

    Hi mtan! That's exactly my point. Communities will write about what they like. Which may not be what I want to look up.

  • JUNE 18, 2008 10:29 PM

    wysgal said...

    That website is an absolute disaster. Good in theory, if they hired a group of editors that would churn out Zagat-style reviews ... or at least some kind of system of aggregating reviews in a more organized fashion. But until they figure things out ... I'm staying away.

  • JUNE 21, 2008 4:30 AM

    nikee said...

    hmm... mediocre for me. It's just not what I'm looking for.

  • NOVEMBER 14, 2008 12:58 PM

    Anonymous said...

    yours is better and very much informative. :-)

    i'm even thinking of organizing my own blogsite because i was inspired by you guys. hehe.

    i've been around trying different kind of food, places, accomodations and restos and i mean everything. and when i saw your blogsite in one of the mags i read from Fix, i made a mental note to visit this. and i was not disappointed at all, you surpassed my expectations, mind you, i only checked this yesterday and i can't stop reading all your blogs.

    now, i have a different longer list of places to visit because of your blogs.

    by the way, i do not want to compete with you on your blog if ever i decided to blog, im not an expert like. i just want to rant about my food experience, i think my blogsite will be titled "an amateur's food rant" hehe. im just playing around, but i do really want to blog about my food experiences as well as accommodations and trip.

    KUDOS to you guys!

    -coco navarro