Part 1 of Rant - Recommendations from Yelp, foursquare, etc are useless because there's no way to validate expertise and no identity
social+local+expert data = relevant recommendations aka Yelp, Foursquare, urban spoon, etc are walled garden data silos of doom NOT destiny and they don't really help you find the awesome restaurant or espresso g*d shot you are looking for despite Fred Wilson's experience (an exception that proves the rule)
Part 2 of Rant - Don't trust your review data not to be compromised and not to be deleted when using a service like Yelp, foursquare, etc
You may be elite-2011-taster-273487 on yelp or urban spoon but or other such location based or recommendation based service, but:
- you don't own your data e.g. your reviews
- you can't export your data
- why should anybody believe that it's you or trust your reviews when it's impossible to figure out who you are e.g. who is JudyS_240394 ?
- your data will be sold (only Apple seems to have the guts not to sell user data)
- what happens when the wonderful service goes out of business or "pivots"?
Part 3 of Rant - Solutions - for now: copy to your site, future: open formats are the only long term way to get out of the silo
It's unfortunate that in 2011 that the best way to build up a consistent reputable, verifiable, track record for reviews or anything else that's structured beyond mere text is still to to have your own site e.g. a blog .
The best pragmatic compromise is to somehow copy the data you post in walled garden data silos of doom back to a site you control on your domain (unfortunately most walled garden sites don't allow you to get your data out without compromise; exceptions that prove the rule: flickr and instagr.am)
Or flip it around: Make your site the master and copy the data out to walled gardens like twitter, yelp, facebook etc is probably a better short term pragmatic solution. Not surprisingly the usual suspects :-) like Dave Winer and Tantek are pioneering this (check out Tantek's falcon system).
And in the long term, a "beyond unstructured blog of text" open API or data format for things like reviews which we have been discussing since 2004 (e.g. microformats) will actually happen. I remain optimistic about that :-) !