LouderVoice plans major upgrade

Ireland-based reviews aggregator LouderVoice is prepping a new version soon and blogged about it today. Some of the things we can expect to see include a busier home page with more links to reviews, as well as:

• Reviews and comments in-site so you no longer need a blog to write full reviews
• Review images
• Instant sign-up
• Instant sign-up via SMS
• Community features enabling you to follow other users and see their activity on the site
• Avatar images
• Review Drafts
• A new voting system
• Major improvements to tag navigation
• Basic support for Google Maps
• A faster search back-end
• And a ton of other under the hood improvements
• Keep an eye out, we know you’re going to like it.

Argolon Solutions’ LouderVoice was demo’d at LeWeb in 2006, launched properly in May 2007 and appeared again at Le Web 3 last year, spearheaded by energetic founder Conor O’Neill. Members of the site write a review of anything on their own blog which is then aggregated into LV. Move your blog and the reviews move with you. How does it work? Users write the word “review” then add a rating from one to five, the name of the thing being reviewed and then a colon. If you don’t have a blog you can review something on the LV site itself. The end result is a trusted community tied into information about the reviewer which sets the review in context. You can also SMS text a review into the site and also integrates with Twitter, Jaiku or Pownce. Because the site uses the hReview Microformat it can be fairly easily integrated into existing blogs. Revenues models include contextual advertising on the site, a white-label version for partners, and a partner customer feedback system.

By the looks of it LV is on its way to becoming quite an interesting startup. It’s tying into one of the big cultural trends of our age, microblogging on platforms like Twitter and also the continuing rise of SMS. The problem is that those sites are not focused on reviews, but LouderVoice is, which is the gap in the market it may be able to fill.