Introduces User Reviews

From the press release: , a subsidiary of AT&T Inc., today announced it has rolled out user reviews to its national site, enabling consumers to share opinions on local and national businesses

The service allows consumers who register with the site to rate businesses from one to five stars, with five stars representing an “exceptional” rating. Site visitors can also write original text recapping their experience with businesses. visitors will automatically see the average rating of businesses to the right of listings, with the number of total ratings and reviews for the listing indicated in parentheses. A “Read Reviews” link allows visitors to read reviews in full, which are posted alongside the username of the reviewer and the date the review was submitted.

Update: Greg Sterling says that initial user reviews are coming from Judy’s Book their own beta test.

What it means: user reviews are now definitely a key element of any local search site. In this implementation, I like the fact that the merchant can interact with the reviews and comment back in the site a la eBay or Citysearch. I think that’s the right way to integrate user reviews.