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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 a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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