MyComments, Malaysian review site and app for local food and travel

Whenever I want to get a restaurant recommendation or read a review about a place, I usually go to Google. Good, old and trustworthy Google with its millions of search results in a couple of seconds.

At this point, I don’t think I’m willing to change my tendencies. But this Malaysian app aims to challenge that habit in me and countless other venues.

Called MyComments, this app is essentially like Yelp or TripAdvisor. Users can essentially write reviews for restaurants, living places, and more.

So … what sets it apart from Yelp or TripAdvisor, the latter of which is probably quite popular here too, then? Before we get into all of this, here’s how the app came about in the first place.

Taking inspiration from abroad

Having lived in Shanghai for ten years, Lim had witnessed the rise of dianping.com, which had gone from a review site offering group shopping to one of the largest on-demand delivery platforms today.

Self-described as a true fan of the site, Lim was determined to bring the concept home to Malaysia. He believed that many Malaysians might know about dianping, but in reality he didn’t have a foothold here in terms of use.

He kicked off the idea in 2013 using his own funds with a few other partners on his side. One of them was Anson Leong, who was working essentially for free at the time.

When asked why Anson decided to work with Lim on the pro bono project, he didn’t hesitate to answer.

“The first thing is that I trust him,” Anson said. “This is very important to me.”

Anson knew him from a previous job and believed in Lim’s attitude and abilities.

“We started very early, but it was a part-time project,” Lim explained. “We always wanted to make it full time, but our resources were very limited. But we haven’t given up. “

Last year, the team finally raised its first round of investments from friends and family. MyComments now has two full-time employees, including Anson.

Localization comment

So, back to the question of what MyComments offers that sets it apart from other review apps.

“The differentiation is about local content, which fits the socio-cultural expectations of Malaysians,” Lim explained.

One obvious way is to cater to the Muslim demographic in Malaysia. In addition to a 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 has Google’s translation capabilities, so users can click on the option and the translation will appear based on the user’s language phone settings. This is useful for a multilingual nation like Malaysia.

Another feature is curatorship. The MyComments team describes the platform as a “digital magazine”, particularly for the Top 10 and the video content they produce.

The top 10 list basically contains native content and lists like “Top 10 Nasi Lemak in Greater KL Recommended by Netizens”, “Top 10 Free Entry Hotspots in Ipoh” and more.

“Google is ‘search’, MyComments is ‘browse’,” simplified the team.

Being a smaller local platform, MyComments is also able to connect more to its users and respond to feedback more efficiently.

Resolve the weaknesses of traders

MyComments’ current business model relies on merchants signing up for its digital advertising system.

With a base price of RM 12.50 per day, merchants can essentially increase their stores to a wider audience as they are prioritized in search results with the help of location-based services.

These paying merchants also get access to the Business Console where they can write their own store descriptions, upload official videos and photos, and post their corporate WhatsApp links for reservations and orders.

Merchants can also post ongoing promotions or coupons on their pages to increase interest. According to Lim, MyComments does not earn commissions on redemptions of these coupons.

Believing that ads on sites like Google and Facebook are more expensive nowadays, MyComments thinks its packages are more valuable. This may be true, but the result is all within MyComments’ reach.

Video content can also be found on the app

One problem preventing this, however, is that MyComments lacks credibility. Not many know this, despite the fact that it has been around for a while.

“The thing I’m pretty worried about [about] is that people don’t know who we are, ”Anson said. “Are we a scam? Are we reliable? That is the question.”

To gain the trust of Malaysians, the team aims to increase their visibility and transparency in the media.

My comments on My Comments

To be honest, I still had doubts even after hearing the team talk about the app. While the app is somewhat active, it is certainly much less populated than popular and established sites.

However, I see the appeal of the app. While there are a few kinks with languages ​​to solve, the app’s UI and user experience are clean and accessible.

The app looks a lot like a convenient and healthy platform for Malaysians to share little tidbits of information with each other.

However, I have wondered if there is an appetite for it. Especially in this age of social media, where anyone can simply search for an influential food or travel account to find trending places to visit.

This is compounded 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 search for travel destinations and food and drink as well as other activities and even book these packages directly on its sites. As it’s not primarily a review site, customers can also leave reviews and ratings.

However, this sector is probably big enough for more players. MyComments has its job to do, however, as it will not be easy to try to raise visibility and awareness in the shadow of more established giants.

But there is no doubt that the team behind MyComments are passionate. And they are optimistic. This is what has kept them alive from 2013 to the present.

And maybe that optimistic outlook and perseverance are worth it; MyComments is finally kicking off its merchant model, having recently signed its first merchant. According to Anson, there are 10 to 20 more merchants who have verbally agreed to join the app.

This optimism extends to the future of MyComments. Speaking to the team, they seem to be interested in creating some sort of all-in-one lifestyle app that makes people’s lives more convenient. Again, this idea is nothing new, but we’re interested to see how MyComments could make their own changes.

In short, MyComments aims to be an app created by Malaysians for Malaysians. It’s a space where locals can exchange tips and reviews.

Of course, its longevity will depend on whether the team will be able to continue marketing it in a way that is relevant to our ever-changing content consumption habits.

  • Find out more about My Comments here.
  • Read other articles we wrote about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Anson Lim, Director of MyComments