Profile: Judy’s Book

Judy’s Book

Founded: Created in May 2004 by entrepreneurs Andy Sack and
Chris DeVore, the service boasts more than 10,000 registered reviewers
and more than 100,000 reviews.

Employees: 16, with plans to double in the next year.

Financing: $10.5 million, with Mobius Venture Capital leading an $8 million second round on Thursday.

Business: An online city guide that provides reviews on
restaurants, mechanics, dentists and other local service providers —
with reviews posted by users in more than 300 U.S. cities. A full
release of the free service, which, like Google, generates revenue
through online advertising, is scheduled for next year.

Web 2.0 definition: "Web 2.0, at least how we are
interpreting it, is much more about creating a framework, giving people
tools that they can use — both consumers and merchants in our case —
to express themselves and connect with each other and find ways to
discover what they are looking for," said DeVore.

How different than Web 1.0: Judy’s Book — unlike its prime
Web 1.0 competitor Citysearch — gets the bulk of its content from
local users who are compensated with $5 coffee cards and other perks.
"In Web 1.0, as long as you had a clunky Web site and put it up — that
worked," Sack said. "Now, the expectation is that the services on the
Web have to be as fast and easy to use as Google, and that’s a higher
bar."

What about Google: Sack says it is now a "post Google world"
— meaning that the Silicon Valley search giant has changed the way
Internet companies develop services, build their brands and make money.

"Google, Yahoo and MSN, all of those guys and their local search
properties are actually going out and trying to acquire high-quality
local content because there is a dearth of it," said DeVore. "Those
guys are reaching out to firms like ours, and trying to get our content
into their index proactively because they want to solve the local
search problem, too, and they see us as a source for that. It is very
interesting symbiosis between what they are trying to do and what we
are trying to do."

The Web 2.0 hype factor: "In the late ’90s, there clearly was
a bubble. Now, there is a real enthusiasm and real businesses that
solve real problems that people are excited about," said Sack, whose
previous Internet company — expert advice site Abuzz — was sold to
The New York Times in 1999. "During the first bubble, people lost too
much money and it is still fresh in everybody’s mind — so I don’t
think there is the froth in the market that there was during the late
’90s."

Leave a Reply