What's 'UpDog'? New app lets you post 15-second video reviews

By Julie Gargotta, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, September 28, 2015, 8:34 PM EDT

What's UpDog?

It's a video-based review app that gives users a voice, and it's launching in Orlando.

Just like recent Apple ads using someone's video footage recorded on an iPhone, commercials are now filled with user-generated content.

Why? According to UpDog cofounder Joseph Mera, it's about real-person experiences.

"Nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising, nothing," Mera said.

But with some review platforms like Yelp taking flak for hosting fake reviews, Bree Goldstein thought she had an app to fix that.

"I said, 'We need something you can trust. We need a review site you can trust,'" Goldstein said. "The whole goal of the app is to bring transparency and authenticity back to the review industry."

UpDog is based around hyper-local video reviews. The app merges user-friendly design with the review process, letting users post quick, 15-second reviews on the go.

To launch it, the dreamer, Goldstein, an Orlando tech expert, teamed up with the business-savvy Mera.

"We let the videos talk for themselves," Mera explained.

Here's how it works: Users log in using their Facebook account. Then any business with a Facebook page pops up on UpDog's map. Tap a spot to review, and post a 15-second clip.

"We launched locally to put Orlando on the map as a tech hub," said Goldstein. "We're from Orlando; we believe in Orlando."

The pair's vision is to expand UpDog across the country, or maybe team up with someone like Google to take it to the next level: UpDog reviews all over the world.

"We have an idea, and we've got action, and we hope that people will follow us," Mera said.

If you're wondering about the app's name, it was born out of a corny joke a friend told Goldstein years ago, sniffing the air and asking her if she smelled anything.

"I was like, 'Smell what?'" Goldstein recalled. "He says, 'That updog.' I said, 'What's updog?' He says, 'Not much,' elbows me and says, 'What's up with you?'"

Goldstein and Mera hope their app will give more users the power to say what's up.

Within the first hour of launching, UpDog's creators said the app had been downloaded 150 times. As of Monday, it's been downloaded more than 650 times.

To deter any fake reviews, users have to be within a 4-mile radius of the business they're reviewing.