I like OpenTable a lot. I am frequently surprised by the number of people that don't know what it is, so I will explain. OpenTable is a site that allows you to make dinner reservations online, that simple. Particularly in New York, it's awesome.

OpenTable has an excellent property. Beyond having a model with wide applicability, it's collecting a set of data that almost no one else can collect, i.e. where and when people eat. I say almost, because the payments companies could probably do something like that.

OpenTable is now using that information to do something. Hopefully it's not the last thing that they do with it. This according to Grub Street:

The temptation to give their own places sky-high ratings has proven irresistible to many a restaurant owner — it’s like asking a portly, middle-aged man not to describe himself as "37" and "athletic" in an Internet personal ad. But according to tech blog Techcrunch, OpenTable's new Diners' Choice lists incorporate ratings only from people who actually made resies and showed up. The lists aren’t touted on the site yet, but being Internet geniuses, we found the beta version and the top five NYC picks: Per Se, Le Bernardin, Gilt, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and Eleven Madison Park. It does say something that people who actually plunked down cash at these places had good things to say about them afterwards.
This is a good start. Let's hope they keep running with it.

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