Frequently Asked Questions

How does Foodspotting work?

Foodspotters share where to find their favorite foods using photos enabling Foodseekers to find whatever they’re craving, see what’s good at a particular restaurant and discover new foods wherever they go.

As a foodseeker, you can…

  • Explore your city or neighborhood to see the nearest, latest and best foods around you.
  • Look up a restaurant and see what’s good there.
  • Find a particular dish that you’re craving.
  • Bookmark foods you want to try by clicking (“Want it!”)
  • Vote up foods you’ve tried and loved (“Nom it!”).
  • Access guides from experts like the Travel Channel to see the nearest recommendations to you.
  • Follow people and guides that you trust, and places and foods that you love.

As a foodspotter, you can...

  • Share where to find a food you love by uploading a photo (“spotting it”), emailing it to food@foodspotting.com (you’ll need to add details from the website), or adding it to a guide.
  • Complete guides, scavenger hunts and challenges to earn badges and recognition.
  • Become a dish expert by spotting five or more foods of the same type.
  • Earn virtual points for making quality contributions to the Foodspotting community.

How does the rating and reputation system work?

The blue ribbon rating (the “nom”) means more because it’s hard to get. Foodspotters earn the right to nom foods by demonstrating expertise and building up reputation points.

Noms: Instead of star ratings, which can be hard to interpret, you can give blue ribbons, called “Noms,” to foods you’ve tried and love. But there’s a catch: You only get 5 noms to start with and must earn the right to nom more foods after that! The more reputation points you earn, the more noms you’re allowed to give out.

Points: We developed the Foodspotting reputation system (“points”) to recognize quality contributions to the Foodspotting community. You can earn points in the following ways:

  • +20 for every sighting
  • +25 whenever someone noms something that you spotted first
  • +20 whenever someone wants something based on your sighting
  • +10 whenever someone compliments (“Great shot!” or “Great find!”) your sighting

Experts: Experts are people who’ve spotted five or more foods of the same type. (You can assign a food type when adding or editing a sighting from the website.)

  • 5+ to be a Bronze Expert
  • 10+ to be a Silver Expert
  • 25+ to be a Gold Expert
  • 50+ to be a Platinum Expert

Why don’t you allow negative ratings?

One of our guiding principles is, “Only the foods people love.” We believe that when you’re out and about and hungry, you don’t want to know what people hate — you want to know what they love! We encourage people to spot foods that they like and to nom foods that are amazing.

How did you come up with the idea for Foodspotting?

Alexa first came up with the idea for Foodspotting when she traveled to Japan and Korea and discovered all of these foods she’d never heard of before, like okonomiyaki and tteokbokki. She returned to San Francisco craving these foods and, unable to find them, she set out to create a better way for people to learn about new foods and to find them locally. To build this visual guide to foods and where to find them, she realized that she could harness an existing trend — taking pictures of food and sharing them online — by giving this activity a name, purpose and identity, and thus, Foodspotting was born.

When did you launch Foodspotting?

We launched the Foodspotting website in January 2010 and the iPhone app at SXSW in March 2010. Prior to that, Foodspotting, the company, formed following Startup Weekend in September 2009 (http://venturebeat.com/2009/09/02/foodspotting-lets-you-find-the-foods-you-love-not-just-the-restaurants/), where we received our first seed funding and a vote of confidence that solidified our team and resolve to make it real!

How can I get a Foodspotting tshirt?

You can order “I Spot Food” shirts and pins from us at http://foodspotting.goodsie.com/ We’re a small team and ship everything by hand, though, so please be patient with us.

How can I become a Super Spotter?

Super Spotters are users whose contributions to the Foodspotting community stood out to other users and to our team. To recognize our first 100 Super Spotters, we invited our users to nominate people we should pay attention to, then selected the top 100 based on a Super Secret Super Spotter Algorithm (but just a hint — points earned were a big factor!). We recognized our first 100 super spotters in Autumn 2010 (http://www.foodspotting.com/people/super_spotters/2010) to help us pilot the program, and hope to recognize others soon!

Can I spot foods at home?

While Foodspotting is primarily about sharing food others can try, if you want to spot foods you've made at home, simply enter "Home" and choose the existing Home location (address is "Private Location"). Your sightings will appear on your profile and in friends' following feeds but people won't be able to see your home address or location.

Can I spot foods at stores/markets/etc?

Yes! While we’ll sometimes emphasize dishes because it’s the easiest way to distinguish Foodspotting from restaurant review apps, we welcome sightings of food products at farmers’ markets, grocery stores, retailers, and any other place that it’s publicly available. We’ll be adding better venue categories and filters so that you won’t see these foods when you’re looking for dinner.

How do I edit place information (wrong address, closed, etc)?

You can submit specific place changes on each location's page — you can also mark a place as closed or duplicate should that be the case. The changes will then be reviewed by our community team and posted once approved. You can also edit the place associated with your own sighting by clicking the "Edit" link below the photo on the large photo page (http://www.foodspotting.com/reviews/1). You can remove the place using the "X" and find or add a new place.