A couple of weeks ago, I met up with the Vape Maps founders at Vape Star Koreatown. If you’re not familiar with Vape Maps, it’s a new service that’s kind of like Yelp, but specifically for vapers. Right now, Vapes Maps helps you find vape shops, read reviews on shops, get store info, and see photos of shops. It’s currently accessible through the Vape Maps web site, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. In the interview above, founders Alex Pessah and Michael Cardoza talk about the service and some of its upcoming features.
One of the newer features that’s currently available on the Vape Maps web site and coming soon to the app is 3D panoramic views. These short clips give you a detailed view — sometimes multiple views — of the inside of a vape shop. While still photos can be gussied up and sometimes give an inaccurate portrayal of a store’s size, the 3D view paints a more meaningful picture.
In the near future, Vape Maps will allow you to search for specific products. You’ll be able to look up a certain juice, mod, atomizer, etc. and find out which stores have it in stock. This feature has tremendous potential. Instead of wasting time visiting numerous stores or calling them up, a quick search will let you see which stores have the product that’s currently your (vaping) heart’s desire. The concern here is having stores update their stock in a timely and honest manner. There’s a lot of potential convenience with this feature, but there’s also some potential for bait-and-switch tactics.
While I was chatting with some vaping friends about Vape Maps, a few of them asked, “Why should I use this over Yelp?” There are a few reasons why. This service was made by vapers for vapers. It’s specific and focused. You don’t have to deal with all the other noise Yelp brings to your quest for a nearby vape shop. And let’s face it, many reviews on Yelp were written by people that have no idea what makes a great vape shop. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a fan and frequent user of Yelp, but for vaping-specific searches, Vape Maps has the potential to offer so much more.
When you get a chance, check out the Vape Maps web site and apps. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the service in the comments section.
Special thanks to Vape Star for letting me film there and to Vaping Utopia Ron for introducing me to the Vape Maps crew.