Whenever I want to get restaurant recommendations or read a review of a place, I usually turn to Google. Good, old, trusted Google with millions of search hits in seconds.
At this point, I don’t think I’m open to changing my trend. But this Malaysian app aims to challenge that habit in me and countless other locals.
Called MyComments, the app is essentially the same as Yelp or TripAdvisor. Basically, users can write reviews for restaurants, lifestyle places, and more.
So… what makes it different from Yelp or TripAdvisor, then also said to be quite popular here? Before we dive into all that, here’s how the app even came about in the first place.
Having lived in Shanghai for ten years, Lim has seen the rise of dianping.com, which has gone from a review site offering group buying services to becoming one of those on-demand delivery platforms. biggest demand today.
Claiming to be a true fan of the site, Lim was determined to bring the concept back to his native Malaysia. He believes many Malaysians may know about dianping, but it really has no place here in terms of usage.
He started the idea in 2013 using his own capital with several other partners on his side. One of them was Anson Leong, who was basically working for free at the time.
When asked why Anson decided to work with Lim on the pro-bono project, he did not hesitate to answer.
“The first thing is, I trust him,” Anson said. “This is very important to me.”
Anson knew him from a previous job and trusted Lim’s attitude and abilities.
“We started very early, but it was a part-time project,” explains Lim. “We always wanted to make it a full-time program, but our resources were very limited. But we didn’t give up.”
Last year, the team finally raised the first round of investments from friends and family. MyComments currently has two full-time employees, including Anson.
So back to the question of what MyComments has to offer that sets it apart from other review apps.
Lim further explains: “The difference lies in the local content, which matches the socio-cultural expectations of Malaysians.
One obvious way is to cater to the Muslim demographic in Malaysia. In addition to the halal tab on the main page, Muslim users may also be prompted to use Muslim-friendly settings when opening the app.
According to the team, the app also features Google translation, so users can click the option and a translation will appear based on the user’s phone language settings. This is very useful for a multilingual country like Malaysia.
Another feature is curation. The MyComments team describes the platform as a “digital magazine,” especially because of the Top 10 listings and the video content they produce.
The top 10 list basically contains original content and articles like “Top 10 Nasi Lemak in Greater KL recommended by netizens”, “Top 10 free hotspots in Ipoh”, etc.
“Google is ‘search’, MyComments is ‘browse’,” the group simplifies.
As a smaller, local platform, MyComments is also able to connect with users more and respond more effectively.
Solve the seller’s problem
MyComments’ current business model relies on merchants subscribing to its digital advertising system.
With a base price of RM12.50 per day, sellers can basically promote their stores to a wider audience as they are prioritized in search results with the help of services location based.
These paid merchants also have access to the Business Dashboard, where they can write their own store descriptions, upload official videos and photos, and publish a WhatsApp for business link. their business to make reservations and orders.
Sellers can also publish ongoing promotions or coupons on their pages to garner interest. According to Lim, MyComments does not earn any commission from redeeming these coupons.
Believing that advertising on sites like Google and Facebook is more expensive these days, MyComments argues that its packages are worth more. This may be true, but all results are within reach of MyComments.
However, one problem that hinders this is MyComments’ lack of credibility. Not many people know about it, despite the fact that it has been around for a while.
“What I’m quite worried about [about] is that people don’t know who we are,” Anson said. “Are we a scammer? Are we trustworthy? This is the problem.”
To gain the trust of Malaysians, the team aims to increase transparency and visibility in their media.
My Comments on MyComments
Honestly, I still have some doubts even after hearing the team talk about the app. While the app is somewhat functional, it’s certainly a lot less populated than popular, well-established websites.
However, I find the app’s appeal. Although there are some difficulties with languages to sort out, the app’s user interface and user interface are clear and accessible.
This app is very much like a comfortable, healthy platform for Malaysians to share small information with each other.
However, I wonder if there’s an appetite for this. Especially in this age of social media, where anyone can look up an influencer travel or food account to find trending places to visit.
This is exacerbated by the fact that a concept like this is not unique.
In addition to the aforementioned apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor, there is also KLOOK, a popular option available in Malaysia.
It allows users to look up travel and dining destinations across other activities and even book these packages directly on its websites. Therefore, it is not primarily a review site, but customers can also leave reviews and ratings.
However, this industry can be big enough for many players. However, MyComments has been cut from the job, as it won’t be easy trying to increase visibility and awareness in the shadow of the older giants.
But surely the team behind MyComments is passionate. And they are optimistic. That’s what has kept them going from 2013 until now.
And perhaps that optimism and perseverance is well worth it; MyComments has finally launched its merchant model, having recently signed its first seller. According to Anson, an additional 10 to 20 merchants have agreed to participate in the app verbally.
This optimism extends to the future of MyComments. Talking to the team, it looks like they’re interested in creating some kind of all-in-one lifestyle app that makes everyone’s life more convenient. Again, this idea isn’t anything new, but we wanted to see how MyComments could make their own tweak to it.
In a nutshell, MyComments aims to be an app made by Malaysians for Malaysians. It’s a space for locals to exchange recommendations and reviews.
Of course, its longevity will depend on whether the team can continue to market it in a way that suits our ever-changing content consumption habits.
- Learn more about MyComments here.
- Read other articles we have written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured image credit: Anson Lim, Director at MyComments