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Qype (pronounced /ˈkwaɪp/) is a Hamburg-based web 2.0 company centered around social networking and local reviews. They currently operate websites in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Ireland, Poland,Spain and Italy and have approx 6.3 million monthly unique European visitors.
Qype was founded in November 2005 operating solely in the German market, however it has expanded to include most European cities. In March 2007 Qype was awarded the Red Herring 100 Europe award.
In July 2007 Qype UK was launched, thus adding English to the interface and content. In January 2008 the website was translated into French, in anticipation of the launch of Qype France. Subsequent versions localised for the Spanish market (October 2008), Ireland and Austria (Summer 2008) in local language have followed.
Qype hosts an online database of user-generated reviews of local businesses in Europe. Users can add new places to the database, upload photos, review places in German, French and English and engage in community activities. Qype maintains a wide-ranging category system listing everything from cosmetic surgery to gay bars. Within this category structure all places are listed in rank-order, with the ranking being based on user rankings. Selected reviews are also presented in the weekly Qype newsletter, and on city and country pages.
There is a de-facto reputation system, where users can see which members are the most popular, respected, and prolific contributors. Users can also check out who shares their interests or indeed their opinions of specific places. Qype fosters the community with events for members at local bars and restaurants, as well as with special events for Qype members that have reached the "insider" status.
Qype's features include:
Qype offers a directory for anyone to search for businesses or read ongoing discussions on existing entries. Certain features, such as the ability to contribute a review, or add a comment to a discussion, are available only to users with verified accounts, which are free. Those members whose contributions have been recognized with a certain number of feedback points are promoted to "insider" status and receive a visual marker in their profile, as well as additional invitations to real-world events. Business owners may participate in the site as well by contributing company profiles.
Feedback points are awarded for contributing new reviews, adding photos to a review, receiving "helpful" or "well written" comments by other members and inviting new members to Qype.
User profiles include a standard set of attributes such as photographs and several fields relating to the user's location, hobbies, preferences etc. Qype allows wide latitude for personal expression on the site and does not routinely moderate or censor content. Some innocent playfulness is tolerated, such as reviews of non-businesses ( e.g. private stories, public art and memorable weather conditions), especially if they include associated photos and receive positive reviews of other peers. However, the company strongly encourages members to participate in a sincere and mature way. Abusive or improper behaviour is strictly forbidden and can result in the deletion of the respective profile and its content, as well as possible legal consequences.
Scope of reviews
Users may review any local business that provides products or services, as well as places of interest such as public gardens and beaches for example. In a high-usage city such as Hamburg or Berlin a large percentage of all restaurants, bars and retail stores are listed with often numerous reviews and there is considerable competition among users to be the "first to review" a new establishment (for which the user also receives an extra feedback point). There is also considerable coverage of professional services, medical providers, automotive services, cultural venues, hotels, museums, parks, attractions, government services, etc. Users may add new businesses and update business information if they notice any missing or incorrect coverage.
As Qype does not take on the responsibility for the content of reviews, it is up to the users contributing material (reviews, photos, comments etc.) to ensure the legality of the content (e.g. regarding copyright laws). Spam, including unmarked self promotions, is prohibited, as are the use of offensive language and comments on private individuals. Comments on professional positions (lawyers, doctors etc.) are allowed in principle, but are subject to local laws. This rule set is described in the Qype Code of Conduct.