The Onion has just joined the long lineup of online city guides with their newest publication; Decider. Decider launched in beta mode with a guide for Chicago and covers everything from movie reviews to restaurant guides. If you visit the site expecting the usual amount of Onion humor, you’ll be disappointed. The Decider is actually a serious site, with real reviews.
Of course, starting in Chicago is quite a challenge as they will be up against established sites like Metromix, Yelp and Citysearch. The advantage for the Onion is that they already have a large pool of journalists to use, and thousands of fans of their other work who might be interested in seeing how interesting an Onion publication is without satire.
The site currently lists over 5700 restaurants, but the vast majority have not yet been rated by readers, and I doubt that many people will be willing to sit down and post their reviews on this site if they already feel comfortable posting to Yelp or Metromix.
The site is also missing mobile access which is something they’ll need to get up and running as soon as they can. Yelp already has a GPS enabled version of their site for the iPhone. Then again, the only mobile version on Citysearch is for Mobile,AL. The ability to search for a restaurant or store on the go is something that can make or break a site.
I’m sure that the guide will improve over time, but I can’t help feel that it’s all just a little more of the same. There is nothing really new on the site and it’ll take a lot of user submitted reviews to become a truly useful resource.