Online Reputation Services Considered
I have come across several online reputation management systems recently, all of which seem to be missing a trick or two. Â This is sad as one day these systems will be to web in general what feedback is to eBay (hmmmmm, perhaps that is damning with faint praise).
There are a lot of products out there which allows customers to give businesses reviews. Â Sites like Qype and trusted places are built around local business reviews and are primarly offline in focus. Â From a directory point of view, with their richer content I can see local search services like these giving slow moving monsters like Yell.com a run for their money, however their review service are pretty basic. Â For example they do not pull information in from any other sources (e.g. RSS feeds) or in any way ensure that the customer are genuine.
Plebble is a site totally based on giving rating of businesses. It is more interesting in that it provides more information on a business and greater opportunity for the business owner to customise their profiles. Â However, where Plebble is going wrong is in trying to charge for parts of this service too early. Â Consumers are not yet using these services en masses, and until their do, there is no way that anyone is going to bother to pay. Â Niggle.co.uk is a similar service.
A more interesting, if slightly bland service is eKomi. Â This service claims to give a feedback experience like eBay and Amazon. Â Certainly it does have the advantage over those mentioned above in that it contains reviews from genuine customers, and not just anyone with an opinion. Â Where I think it fails is in having none of the search facilities of sites like Qype. Â it would be nice to bring some search functionality to allow users to find businesses with the best profiles.
What I would do…
- Integration with established reputation management systems. Â I am very surprised that no reputation management system has integrated in with eBay and Amazon feedback to provide an overall view of the feedback on a business.
- Pull in other sources of information. Â A really good system would pull in information such as company registration details from companies house.
- Rich profiles. Â A company should be able to sell themselves by creating a compelling profile
- Search. Â Finally, customer should be able to find the company with the best reputation.