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Recommended By A Friend: The newest social influence site aims to promote local business

From now until the end of July, recommend the “Best of Buffalo” and be entered to win a $100 Wegmans gift card.

What began as a Silicon Valley startup is popping up across the U.S. The newly launched social site, Recommended, aims to assist WNY businesses by leveraging customer recommendations and their social connections. As the website tag line states, “friends don’t let friends work with strangers.” Recommended offers free business profiles, and free consumer searches. According to The Nielsen Company “The most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust.”

Unlike other sites, Recommended focuses on quality reviews and supports small, service-oriented businesses by giving professionals “the ability to sell their services online — like an OpenTable for service-oriented businesses — and  give happy customers the ability to recommend them publicly. In short, Recommended digitizes word-of-mouth.”

The site does not accept advertising revenue, and does not rank comparable businesses. Instead, Recommended provides businesses “free profiles, a place to show off their work portfolio online, and a place to sell their services.” They take a small commission from onsite sales.

Online reviews have become vital to businesses looking to gain new customers. According to an annual consumer review survey published by BrightLocal, “91% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and form opinions faster than ever with 68% forming an opinion after reading 1-6 online reviews.” 

Recommended shows consumers recommendations provided by their friends, not strangers, like on other review sites, such as, Yelp, Google, and Amazon. According to BrightLocal, 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.  The survey also shows that consumers are more concerned now about fake reviews than they were in 2015, “27% of people will trust reviews only if they believe they are authentic.”

Maddy Martin, Marketing Director and Buffalo Native, adds that “when it comes to looking for a new restaurant to go to for dinner, anonymous reviews are fine — you’re only going to be out a few bucks if it doesn’t pan out well. But, if you’re looking for someone to remodel your kitchen or move your family to a new house, the stakes are a lot higher. You really want reviews from people in your network, friends and family whose tastes and preferences most closely resemble your own. That’s what Recommended delivers.”

BrightLocal provides SEO tools to web agencies and businesses looking to improve their online presence.

Below are a few local businesses currently on Recommended:

Ms. Martin, would like readers “to recommend their most trusted businesses and independent professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, gardeners, music teachers, mechanics, etc..” To encourage Buffalonians to spread the word about the Nickel City’s best businesses, Recommended is giving away ten $100 Wegmans gift cards. Once a business is recommended they will be invited to join the online community and create a free profile. However, business owners don’t have to wait to be added, profiles can be created at any time.

To join, add your business profile and/or recommend someone at

Lead photo credit Pexels

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is an author, speaker, coach, marketer, and business development strategist. Her professional consulting company, MEMC handles all aspects of marketing and business development planning and implementation, assisting with strategic planning initiatives and the creation of marketing action plans, as well as planning and executing private and public events, including: the coaching of individuals, multi-day conferences, as well as other development initiatives. In addition to her work with MEMC, Jessica oversees the day-to-day operations and strategic marketing efforts at Local Matters, Inc. the parent company of Buffalo Rising.

She is active in her community and serves on several non-profit boards, such as WNY Heritage Magazine, O'Connell & Company Productions, and the Women's Business Center (WBC) Advisory Board. She is also a Democratic Committee Member in the Town of Tonawanda. Most recently, She has been asked to serve as the Marketing Consultant for the WBC's COVID Recovery Task Force.

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