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ResellerRatings - clearing the air, helpful info

     
5:14 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This thread, [webmasterworld.com...] has lots of misinformation about ResellerRatings. I wanted to post a reply there, but the thread is "too old", so I'm starting a new one.

I'm the founder of ResellerRatings.

Here are some quotes from that thread, "Looking around, ResellerRatings.com is accused of being a flakey 1- or 2-man operation running off of a rental server."

We have been in business since 1996. We have been recommended by a wide number of media publications including PC World, MaximumPC, Leo Laporte on TechTV and TWiT, the Wall Street Journal, KGO (SF bay area), TheConsumerist, Forbes, Fortune, SmartMoney... A lot more.

We have 500 subscribing retailers to our Merchant Member program, including TigerDirect, B&H, Newegg, Buy.com.

We're a small team, but we're not "1 or 2 people".

"There are accusations that ridiculously negative anonymous reviews with details having no connection with reality appear shortly after some businesses register their business, and the only way to get them reviewed and removed is to pony up a fee. Sort of a Ripoff Reports, Jr."

That's not true. The only reviews you'll find at ResellerRatings were written by actual customers, and each review is accompanied by an invoice number. There is no way to remove any review from the site for any amount of money. We do, however, require reviews to comply with our policies (see terms link at bottom of our site), and any retailer (subscriber or not) can flag a review if they believe that it violates our terms, and our team will evaluate. We're not in the "bad reviews" business or in the "complaints" business.

We're in the business of empowering consumers with knowledge, and giving merchants a marketing/reputation management toolset. The absolute most money we earn from any given retailer is $200-$300/mo (that's for retailers that earn about $100M-$1B/year in revenue), though 95% of retailers pay us $29/mo (it's based on size). By contrast, price comparison engines (and their associated ratings pages) generate tens of thousands of dollars a month from their merchant advertisers, and even ripoff report (since you mentioned it) generates $50,000 per company for their services (as admitted by the owner in an interview).

"Their contact information is said to not work."

That's bogus. Just click the contact us link at the bottom of the site. We usually respond the same day but always within a day.

"On the whole Shopzilla seems to be the biggest, most stable, most corporate of the review sites. "

We've had a number of large retailers switch their efforts from Shopzilla to ResellerRatings. You should do your homework there and decide where to put your efforts, but usually, you need to pay attention to all large sources of ratings and reviews.

"dentalfloss, I've had some pretty nasty and false accusations posted about my shop on resellerratings.com -- they don't do much to prove the buyer is even a legitimate customer of the site they're reviewing, although they claim to."

We actually do a LOT to prove that the reviewer is a legit customer. If you believe that a reviewer is not a customer, flag the review (you can flag the review with our free merchant account or our paid account). We'll contact the customer to obtain proof of their order (invoice). We also have a variety of automatic checking to block fake reviews, looking for dup IP's, email addresses, and many other checks.

Again, ResellerRatings isn't a complaints engine. 65-70% of all feedback at our site is positive, and that number includes total scam-operations that get blasted with bad reviews, so for the typical legit retailer, the number is higher. We want to be useful to consumers, not sensational, not a place for them to bash retailers. And we want to empower retailers with the tools they need to contact reviewers, resolve issues, and maximize their ratings and reviews -- all for a ridiculously low subscription fee that is much lower than yelp, Merchant Circle, Shopzilla/Bizrate.

[edited by: lorax at 11:59 pm (utc) on Oct. 3, 2009]

10:57 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It is great to see the founder on here responding. I imagine that some of these people were a bit frustrated and did not know how to flag a review. A suggestion would be to place a "flag a fraudulent review" link on the home page next to the merchants/advertise/trust and ethics links or someplace else on the page to make it easier for owners of companies to flag reviews. The easier you make it for a merchant to flag a review the less complaints you would have. Remember, this is a two way street, you need to have honest reviews on your site and you also need merchants who can easily dispute fraudulent ratings so they do not bash your company and possibly join your company.

In my opinion, if a merchant or manager of a company is not familiar with your site, they might not necessarily feel comfortable in giving out personal information that your sign up for an account process asks for. You should consider just making it a plain form where the merchant can fill out basic information -Name/Position/Telephone Number/Email Address. Make sure the email is optional because not every manager in the world wants to give out email address these days.

Then let your review process take over and if you have some basic information you can follow up with a merchant at a later date.

7:34 pm on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A "fraudulent" review is also one from the type of customer you just can't please, no matter how far you bend over for them.

You know the type, they'll order too late to have it in by Christmas or what have you, and then they'll smear the merchant all over the web for "ripping them off".

Flagging a review like this on a site like resellerratings.com doesn't do much. They'll say "The customer provided an order number." too bad for you, seller.

In order for a site like this to avoid being one-sided, they should offer a place for the merchant to retort to negative reviews PUBLICLY.
This would allow those reading these nasty reviews to get both sides of the story. This should be a free feature to all websites who the review site reports on.
Ebay allows this as a basic feature of their feedback platform and it's helped me decide in placing purchases in the past. It's useful to be able to see not only how quickly the seller replies to problems, but how they handle the nasty feedback.
I also think if the buyers (like I mentioned above) know they have an opportunity of being called out, they will probably think twice before leaving emotional feedback and merely just state the facts.

4:51 pm on Oct 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I like the Google check out reviews, there is a way for a merchant to respond there. Reseller ratings we have not paid any attention to because there are so few users that go there and I am more than sure their traffic their sites would send all of our websites are minimal.

Honestly, we do not worry about review sites too much, hardly anyone uses them anymore and to pay the sites to advertise is not worth the time and money in my opinion.

2:05 am on Oct 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A suggestion would be to place a "flag a fraudulent review" link on the home page next to the merchants/advertise/trust and ethics links or someplace else on the page to make it easier for owners of companies to flag reviews. In my opinion, if a merchant or manager of a company is not familiar with your site, they might not necessarily feel comfortable in giving out personal information that your sign up for an account process asks for.

We do make it clear how to join our site, and what options a merchant gets when they join. If we added a "flag review" link, consumers would use it -- it's intended for merchants only. The only information we ask for when a company signs up is an alias/username, password, and email address (at the domain that matches the domain of their online store).

A "fraudulent" review is also one from the type of customer you just can't please, no matter how far you bend over for them.

That's not a fraudulent review, it's an unreasonable review. Unreasonable people exist. All retailers deal with unreasonable people. Therefore it's a level playing field. If you click on the best/worst stores link on our homepage, you'll see that there are hundreds of stores who manage 9 to 9.5 out of 10.00 ratings, over hundreds or thousands of reviews, despite this.

In order for a site like this to avoid being one-sided, they should offer a place for the merchant to retort to negative reviews PUBLICLY.

This feature has been a part of our site since its inception.

I like the Google check out reviews, there is a way for a merchant to respond there. Reseller ratings we have not paid any attention to because there are so few users that go there and I am more than sure their traffic their sites would send all of our websites are minimal.

Our reviews are syndicated to Google. So while we get about 700,000 monthly users to ResellerRatings (which is not really just a "few"), our reviews are also shown to the millions of Google products/Google base users:
[google.com...]

Honestly, we do not worry about review sites too much, hardly anyone uses them anymore and to pay the sites to advertise is not worth the time and money in my opinion.

I think that's a pretty big error in judgment. Companies like Newegg, Tigerdirect, B&H, and lots of small companies, know that a few bad reviews can make or break sales, and they are all very active at our site, contacting reviewers to resolve any issues (and to thank those satisfied customers as well). We have a list of over 500 merchant subscribers, sorted by how frequently each one of them has visited our site in the past 30 days to respond to reviewers, post public replies in response to reviews, monitor reviews. Lots of companies seem to think that managing their reputation on our site matters.

Searching Google for just about any one of the 20,000 retailers at ResellerRatings will find their reviews page on the first page of results, plus our reviews are syndicated to Shopwiki, Google base/products, and TheFind.com. Bottom line, 77% of buyers seek reviews before buying (according to JupiterResearch). It's important to manage your reputation. See:
[nytimes.com...]

[edited by: lorax at 11:10 am (utc) on Oct. 5, 2009]
[edit reason] no urls please [/edit]

2:34 am on Oct 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Some people do not like giving out their email addresses these days (I know I do not), that is why I suggested email should be optional and so should a phone number.

As far as minimal goes, that is for us. We do a lot of business to business transactions. If you do a lot of business to consumer transactions it may be different. Each company has it's own milage and it may vary.

11:07 am on Oct 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Time to wrap this up. Please take this conversation to another venue outside of these forums.