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The voice of the consumer is out and online January 20, 2011

Posted by salla in Blogroll.
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As it has become evident that people are willing and maybe even eager to say out loud their opinions and consuming experiences online, we have seen a rise of services focusing on publishing and aggregating consumer opinions.

One of the first consumer review services was eOpinions.com founded in 1999 and still running. There’s also a shopping portal attached to the service so that the services are co-creating content: advertising product for reviewers and product reviews for shoppers. All the reviews are posted by individual users and they can also be peer reviewed so that good reviewers will get more recommendations. Content engine then ranks reviews according to their ratings. Consumers can also receive bonuses for their reviews, based on how often their reviews were used in making a decision. Thus writing good reviews can bring users some income.

Finnish versions of such services are a bit younger. For example Puskaradio.net (in English Grapewine) is an open web service  for product or service reviews opened in 2006. Usually these services collect a lot of complaints on bad customer service, about problems with shipping or returns and also opinions and experiences on products. Puskaradio.net also reminds their users to behave: to follow the Netiquette and the Finnish law as well.

In addition there are lots of review services dedicated to culture products, such as movies, books or games. Increasingly web stores are also merging reviewing options as a part of their service, so that you can easily see a glimpse on other people’s thoughts before buying. And online media is trying to join the conversation and competition as well by giving the voice to their readers on service reviews (a good Finnish example is Omakaupunki-service under Helsingin Sanomat).

Some interesting Finnish services include also:

And why am I writing about this in Dire blog? Well of course, because reviews are small reputational stories, and besides these sites might be interesting for companies, they could also be used as research material.

ps. These services are also very handy if you want to create revenue using web ads, since people are producing text about commonly searched products and services and are most likely making a buying decision at some point. That’s why there are even services such as Pointblog, which gathers texts and thus web traffic under certain keywords by giving users points if they write about  a certain theme. Later  the points collected can be used in a web shop.

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