New Online Community Cuts Through the Clutter to Help People Share and Discover the Most Relevant Information, Opinions and Ideas
LOS ANGELES — March 31, 2009 – Lunch.com, a new online community based on the premise that the most useful information comes from people who share your interests, tastes and point of view, today announced the beta launch of its Web site, Lunch.com (www.Lunch.com).
"The Lunch experience is a passionate, respectful exchange among people with shared interests, who thrive on feeding their curiosity," said J.R. Johnson, founder and chief executive officer of Lunch. "We are sparking the kind of conversation people share over a casual meal with a terrifically well-informed friend. Lunch offers that same kind of relevant, personal information, cutting through the current confusion of random online chatter."
With its proprietary Similarity Network engine, Lunch calculates commonalities in taste and opinions among the site's members. Lunch lets people filter out the noise and zero in on what's most interesting and helpful to them personally.
For example, Lunch could connect you to health and wellness related reviews from someone who shares your personal perspective -- whether you are a Western medicine traditionalist, a macrobiotic vegan into chakra-cleansing, or a parent struggling to decipher which vaccines are worth the tradeoffs. Or maybe you want to exchange ideas with someone who supports similar charities or get tips for new patio furniture from someone who shares your taste in modern design and lives in a similar climate.
Practically anything can be reviewed, rated, and discussed on Lunch, whether it's a baby stroller, the latest YouTube video, the Wimbledon finals, a local mechanic, a philosophical position, a snowboard, a political speech, or a rock concert.
Lunch brings together facts and opinions in one place, pioneering a new breed of holistic content. This fresh take on the user generated content category combines elements of online reviewing, collaborative wikis, and social media. By contributing reviews, ratings, and facts, people constantly improve the quality and relevance of information they receive from other Lunch members.
"People don't need 5,000 reviews of the iPhone - they only need one review from a person who shares their perspective -- and that is what Lunch provides," Johnson said. "We're reducing information overload while building on shared experience. Millions of people know a little something about a little something – the trick is to find the information most relevant to you."
Best Practices in Community Building J.R. Johnson founded Lunch in the summer of 2008 after he sold his previous companies VirtualTourist.com (user-generated travel review site) and OneTime.com to Expedia. He grew VirtualTourist.com to a high-quality community of 1 million members and is applying those best practices in community-building to Lunch. The Lunch team brings more than 10 years of online community-building experience to this new site, and knows how to best encourage people to contribute thoughtful reviews and information.
Lunch aspires to overcome the user-generated content category's "participation inequality" – the theory that only 10 percent of Internet users contribute content, while 90 percent passively consume it. By fostering an environment of critical thinking balanced with encouragement to engage, Lunch lays the groundwork for trust and loyalty among its members. Community members help each other become more skilled and confident as they express their knowledge, beliefs and ideas to others. This respectful discourse leads to a virtual ocean of untapped passion and information.
"Lunch is doing something different by creating a place to share and discover with people you wouldn't otherwise have access to. Instead of connecting with people you already know, Lunch puts the focus on sharing what's important to you and finding the most relevant information," explained Johnson. "We foster a community of people who appreciate good conversation and respectful dialogue, and have a passion for understanding more in life."
Lunch is self-funded by Johnson and headquartered in El Segundo, Calif.