AOL ended any doubt that it had plans to build upon MapQuest, after launching a “Coming Soon” teaser page just over a week ago that revealed little new information, except that ”Something cool is coming to your neighborhood”.
I gleaned a little more information from the yet-to-be-launched website by typing in different web addresses using the home page URL as a starting point http://mqvibe.mapquest.com/comingsoon, then viewing the source.
Based on what I found, it appears MQVibe will provide a Google Places-like service that lets you rate and review neighborhood businesses/hotspots. On MQVibe, neighborhoods and hotspots will be given a ranking based on factors such as Vibe Score, Walkability, Popularity, Edginess and more.
While the site is far from being accessible by the public, a few pages on the site can be viewed.
Here’s what I have found out about MQVibe, after just a few minutes of surfing the pages.
- The subtitle for MQVibe is “Neighborhood Hotspots, Rankings & Reviews”.
- The site will be integrated with Facebook. The Facebook page for Neighborhoodvibe will be located at: http://www.facebook.com/NeighborhoodVIBE
- You will be able to invite your Facebook friends to vote on hot neighborhoods and local hotspots and post items to your Facebook wall.
- Neighborhoods and hotspots will receive a vibe rank that you’ll be able to vote up or down.
- Each place in MQVibe will be described by its vibe score and its underlying factors. These factors are based on crowd-sourced user behavior and physical characteristics of the place, such as the category and location of local businesses, density, features of the urban geography, and demographics.
- You will only be able to vote once every two weeks.
- You will be able to quickly search by neighborhood or city according to a search form on the home page.
- MQVibe appears to be or is in alpha testing, according to a “Send Alpha feedback” link that appears at the top of several internal pages http://about.nvibe.com/help/report-issue/
- The Report Issue page offers some of the most telling information about the site’s features (shown in the picture above). Using the Report Issue page, users can: suggest a hotspot, or correct a hotspot name or boundary; suggest adding a business that is missing; suggest a correction to the details of an existing business; report an issue with the ranking of a local business; report a business that is closed is still in the rankings; and report an issue with the neighborhood scores (Vibe Score, Walkability, Popularity, Edginess, etc.).
- Neighborhoodvibe will be the website’s blog and will use WordPress as its publishing platform. The blog will be located at http://nvibe.mapquest.com/.
- The placeholder page for MQVibe online help can found at http://mqhelp.mapquest.com/mqvibe/.
- A link in the footer refers to MQVibe as “Business Center”.
AOL has been pretty quiet about the site and has not announced a release date as of yet.
Update 1, October 12, 2011 3:43AM EST: AOL has now blocked or password protected nearly all the pages that were publicly accessible.