Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Has Anyone Else Noticed Chowhound Drying Up?

Am I the only person who feels like Chowhound has been drying up over the past few years?

When I started HowChow three years ago, I read Chowhound daily.  The DC-Baltimore board had dozens of posts a day, and people would pass a topic back and forth with great suggestions about where to eat and shop.

In recent months, there are days with fewer than 10 posts in a day.  I go weeks between checks, often because there isn't much to entice me back.

I blame Yelp.  Reed and I were recently emailing, and he said that he had put the first review of the new Nari Sushi on Yelp.  I wonder if people post single-restaurant reviews these days instead of posting questions and answers on Chowhound.

Don't get me wrong.  I post on Yelp.  You can track local writers like Reed or Yaka K. to see what they think of local places.  But Chowhound and DonRockwell's Baltimore board serve a different role.  Instead of just asking "How is Restaurant X?," you could ask where to watch a Ravens game in Howard County or where to find the best deli for catering.  I never would have looked up Grace Garden on Yelp because I didn't know it existed, but I found the spectacular 2008 chain and basically ordered right from the suggestions.

When I first explored Howard County, writers like Jason1, Warthog,  Little Audrey, Elgringoviejo and DiningwithDoc were generous with their knowledge, and I learned from Chowhound -- especially from topics that were broader than a single restaurant.  One person would offer an idea.  Others would chime in.  It's fun to answer questions and share ideas.  I don't really know what changed.

Anyone know what is happening on Chowhound?  Is this another place that people left because they spend so much time on Facebook?  Anyone have questions that they want answered?


Deb said...

I used to read Chowhound regularly, but like you, I don't go there much any more because there don't seem to be as many new posts as there used to be.

However, I do read it for out-of-town recommendations, and did so a couple months ago when we went to Maine. But I noticed that many -- though not all -- of the postings were old.

Still, I prefer Chowhound to Yelp even though more than a few of the Chowhound posters seem to pride themselves on being food snobs.

dzoey said...

I've noticed this as well and am at a loss to explain it, other than there's no Chowhound app (or if there is, it's been obscured by Yelp & Urbanspoon. It's so much easier to write a brief impression on your phone at the time of the meal.

A second thought is that their editors can be a little overzealous sometimes and that can annoy authors. I've had a couple of my posts deleted for reasons unknown. I doubt this is the main cause though. I suspect it's the popularity of Yelp & Urbanspoon.

Dianne said...

Howchow, I recognize all the names you mentioned as formerly frequent posters on Chowhound. I too used to read that site daily, if not two or three times a day just to keep up with all the new posts!

For me, I lost interest (or maybe it was that second job keeping me busy) when they split the site into 'CHOW' and "CHOWHOUND". Not being able to surf from stories to recipes to reader posts confused me and left me feeling that one was not quite right without the other there with it.

Although I do agree that the main cause is most likely the increase of use of Yelp, Urbanspoon, etc.

Oddly enough, about 3 weeks ago I started visiting chowhound again. But didn't seem much was happening. And that's too bad. I remember when I could waste a good two hours or so on there on a lazy Saturday morning.

Yaka said...

I also use Chowhound, but I'm more of a browser. Though, a lot of the threads are old/not much activity.

Yelp has a nicer, easy to use user interface, more mainstream approach compared to Chowhound, which might be why Yelp is more popular these days.