About TheSmartLocal - Meet our Team!
TheSmartLocal is an independently owned media property that covers Travel and Lifestyle in Singapore. It gives Singaporeans high quality information on what to do in and out of Singapore. It is one part blog/magazine with editorial content AND one part review database where members can have their say about everything Singapore.
With our listing database, we aim to give consumers searching for information the most accurate and honest answers through reviews, allowing them to make the best decisions in their life about anything Singapore.
By providing important information to consumers, Singaporeans have taken well to our site. TheSmartLocal was officially launched in August 2012. Today, there are over 18,000 reviews and we are well on our way to becoming the ultimate resource directory for Singaporeans.
We have opened a Malaysian portal and experience over 600,000 unique visitors to our site each month. Our traffic currently ranks us in the top 20 local media portals ahead of sites like TheNewPaper, ZaoBao, YourSingapore, Mediacorp.com etc. We have received a government investment grant based on our innovation and traction and we aim to one day be among the top 10 most visited websites in Singapore. We retain full equity and control of TheSmartLocal.
Our review directory however, remains as an independent component completely free from advertising and will always stay that way.
Our Press Coverage
- techinasia - "Be a Smarter Local With TheSmartLocal.com"
- yahoo - "12 Startups in Asia That Caught Our Eye"
- e27 - "TheSmartLocal offers quality reviews on restaurants, tourist spots and shopping establishments"
- tnooz - "TheSmartLocal aims to eliminate fake reviews and adopts blog style for quality reviews"
- webintravel - "The Smart Local - using local communities to build trusted review sites across Asia"
- theonlinecitizen - "The fast growing local review site"
TheSmartLocal was founded by Bryan Choo, a web developer with a passion for travel, food, writing and film making. It was may seem like a mixed bag of skills, but fortunately he could apply all these in creation of this portal. He wanted to create an innovative tech start-up that would improve the lives of Singaporeans by providing crowd sourced accurate and high quality information.
In the past, he often ran into difficulty when searching for information in Singapore and found many other Singaporeans also faced this problem. When we looked on the internet we usually ended up on forums which were messy and unorganised with information you couldn't fully trust.
A few incidents he can recall was searching for a good driving instructor to take lessons from, looking for a good interior designer for his home renovation and finding a good photographer for his wedding. The information was just not there.
Some other questions Singaporeans commonly ask are - What are the best buffets in Singapore? What food delivery options are there besides McDonalds? The Best Singapore blogshops? Great hotels for a staycation? Which is a good school / day care to send our children to? Which attractions do I take my friends from overseas when they came visiting? etc.
These answers weren't easily found and sometimes you only get one shot. Like a wedding or renovation. These are important decisions and should not just be left to chance. Also, people aren't looking for simply *anything* nowadays, they are more discerning and look to get the best experiences possible.
The idea was to create a one stop review directory for Singaporeans that would provide curated high quality information for Singaporeans. Unlike other review websites out there which are written by foreigners, we believe it was the locals that know their country the best, hence TheSmartLocal.
Our Top Writers and Bloggers
Over time, we had the fortune of being joined by some very talented writers and bloggers in their quest to share the best of Singapore.
Our Review Community Innovation
Why do people trust forums? Because they are essentially an established community with members (with high post counts) who's opinion are likely to be legitimate. When it comes to reviews, trust behind the people making them is essential.
So we decided to use a community model and equip it with a proper platform to build our very own review community. A fresh innovation in the review industry that eliminates the problems that plague every review website. Our reviews would be made by a trusted community, not one-off strangers.
Because we believe the quality of reviews are extremely important, our community was started with specially invited book authors, bloggers, start-up founders and other influencers and experts.
Our platform would allow people to share information in a way that's easily accessible. For any consumer decision you have, simply hop on our site. TheSmartLocal intends to be the one-stop review portal for everything Singapore, automatically ranking places based on aggregated quality reviews from our trusted community.
The importance of quality
We believe quality and helpfulness go hand in hand so only reviews with considerable substance will be published. This is not to discourage submissions but to uphold the integrity of our content. Our number one priority is to provide readers with absolutely honest reviews.
To present an engaging read to users, we require submissions to be in a blog style. Blogs are personal, enjoyable to read and relatable. If you believe in our mission, we welcome you to register an account and join us on our journey.
Do note that we have a strict moderation period for new members but after passing that period you will be able to freely write about anything and you may even join our official team!
- Providing locals with honest and accurate information, allowing us to make the smartest decisions and live the best lives possible in Singapore/Malaysia. We also focus a lot on travel and giving our readers the best holiday ideas from a Singaporean's perspective.
- Providing tourists visiting Singapore/Malaysia the best travel experience possible by providing the most accurate reviews, guides and articles. It's the locals who know their country the best, hence TheSmartLocal.
Statistics today commonly show consumers depend heavily on reviews before making their decisions. In this particular survey, 78% of travelers found reviews helpful, 95% felt reviews were trustworthy and 53% wouldn't even patronise the place if it had no reviews.
What makes us different
- TheSmartLocal.com is a privately owned and independent review-based site free from the influence of corporate entities who have to maintain their business relationships.
- Our reviews are very carefully screened so any suspicious reviews of spam and "self-advertisement" will not even be published.
- We have a strong community emphasis in the form of blogs, forums and a social network. A key difference is we do not depend on one-off reviews from random strangers, but instead from a trusted and established review community. This does not mean you can't join our site, you can but it will take a certain amount of effort and quality on your part if you want to be accepted as a trusted writer on our site.
- Most sites are expansions of their home portals. These sites have reviews mostly by tourist and not actual locals. We feel this does not fully capture the soul of Singapore and Malaysia. So the vast majority of our site is written by actual locals, from the inside out.
- We are concise with our intent to focus on every decently popular business rather than having every single listing there is.
- We mean it when we say "All Things Singapore", from Singaporean Culture to Schools, National Service, Political Parties, TV shows, Local celebrities and even a popular drink called "Milo" - writing reviews on everything is possible.
We hope you have a great time discovering Singapore and Malaysia on our site!
If you would like to get in touch with us, you can contact us here.
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Our Latest Travel Adventure - TSL Discovers Indonesia!
This month, the TSL team went on a journey filming and discovering 5 little known Indonesian cities truly off the beaten path. In our final episode we explored Medan, home to Lake Toba - the largest Volcanic Lake in the world and one of Indonesia's most underrated destinations. Read more about our adventures below!
Air tickets start from as low as $59 one way. Check out the full details at ChangiAirport's website!