ULoveNY is a new site aimed at being the web’s video guide to New York City. It boasts of “thousands and thousands of video reviews” on its sharp homepage, a claim I don’t doubt given its extensive archives for everything from theater and museums to transportation and street vendors.
The site is the work of NYC-based Videople, a company focused on building online communities around engaging, exclusive video content (also check out their college review site CollegeClickTV). All of their videos are professionally produced but are focused on personal reviews, so the sites serve essentially as a channel for the views and opinions that Videople crews capture on the street. There is some editing and curating going on, of course, as well as commenting and brief text reviews, but the raw commentary definitely takes center stage.
It’s a straightforward, intriguing concept, and in the local reviews field there don’t seem to be many sites executing well on the idea, let alone making it their central feature. It’s different for paid video ads from sites like CityCapture and Citysearch, which began rolling out last year (see ad guidelines) and Yelp is adding sometime soon. Here’s a video I happened across on Citysearch’s Shampoo page – we’ll give Citysearch credit for producing slick stuff for its customers and even providing embed codes, unlike ULoveNY.
One notable site in ULoveNY’s video review space is the restaurant guide Savory Cities, focusing on NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle. They offer listings and videos under a strict, no-pay editorial policy, and the content is beautifully shot and put together. Here’s their video for The Little Owl:
While their videos aren’t purchased as ads, businesses can contact the ULoveNY team and ask to be added to their schedule. Otherwise, all videos are filmed impromptu by crews running around the city.
This approach can make the videos less reliable as sources of information (sift through the brief-but-numerous St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Park offerings to get an idea), especially for tourists. Editorially-driven sites like Savory Cities have clear advantages here, as do text-based and mapping sites that present basic info much better than hard-to-filter, time-consuming ULoveNY content.
But I view ULoveNY as the perfect complement to standard local sites. It’s a fascinating, unique way to explore New York, whether you’re visiting or have lived there for years. Seeing the city’s different kinds of people in their element and hearing what they have to say about its great sites is compelling, almost in a citizen journalism kind of way.
And on top of the quirky tips I’ve been able to pick up so far, I’ve come away with a new desire to seek out the sites that I’ve yet to experience myself, keeping an eye out for video crews all the while so that I can make my own personal contribution.