A peek at AOL’s MQVibe: Neighborhood hotspots, rankings, & reviews

Mapquest mqVibe

Several tech blogs have speculated about AOL’s MQVibe since I first reported on AOL filing trademarks and registering domains having to do with NVibe and MQVibe in September.  

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, 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: 
  • 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 
  • 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
  • The placeholder page for MQVibe online help can found at
  • 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.

Discussion: ReadWriteWeb

Update 1, October 12, 2011 3:43AM EST:  AOL has now blocked or password protected nearly all the pages that were publicly accessible.

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