One of the great pastimes of the Web is rating places and things, but now with mobile phones you can rate them anywhere, and not just things but experiences. Enter Stamped, a New York City startup founded by ex-Googlers that wants to be your go-to app for rating restaurants, books, movies, and music. The iPhone app just launched on iTunes.
Stamped simplifies ratings. Gone are the five stars. You either stamp something with your approval or you don’t. But don’t stamp too liberally because you only get 100 stamps to start out with (you can earn more by being active on the service). You can follow what your friends are stamping to get a steady stream of recommendations. The app will also feature suggested users like chef Mario Batali (an adviser to the company) and Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers. Share your stamps more broadly on Twitter.Open up the map view to see stamps near you. Put some to your to-do list, add your own stamp. If you don’t want to waste a stamp, you can show your approval with a weaker “like.”
The app is comparable to Kevin Rose’s Oink in that it lets you rate things at a very granular level, but it is much more structured than Oink, which is organized around free-form hashtags. Stamped steers users towards rating restaurants (pulled from Google Places and OpenTable),books (pulled from Amazon), movies (pulled from Fandango), and music (pulled from iTunes). If something is not in the Stamped database, you can’t stamp it. But for those categories, the app does a great job. You can filter the stream of your friends’ Stamps by category, and often there is the option to book a table at a restaurant through OpenTable or download a song through iTunes.
The more you stamp, the more the app knows your interests. Down the line, the company could possibly target offers or ads based on your interest profile for places, books, music, and movies you’ve explicitly said that you like. Co-founder Robby Stein worked as a product manager on Google’s Ad Exchange and co-founder Bart Stein (not related) worked in marketing. The third co-sounder, Kevin Palms, was rescued from a hedge fund. The company is backed by Bain Capital and Google Ventures, and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom (also an ex-Googler) is another adviser.