Companies Offering review Services

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Aug 7, 2013
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I wanted to start a thread on companies offering review services. A number of our clients are getting initiated with cold calls from these companies. I find for the most part these companies are not worth the time. Currently I am looking at a company called goodreviewproducer(com). Basically they create a new domain called reviews[yourdomain].com and then direct you to one of the main review sites to leave a review. I really don't see a lot of value in these processes. People still need to have accounts with some of these review sites, and from what i am seeing rarely do I actually see an active review posted on these sites that are coming from one of these services. (Yelp. Google, yellow pages, etc.) Anyone else dealing with this?
 

Linda Buquet

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There are all kinds of review companies offering all kinds of services. Many are scammy and many do things that can get your client in trouble.

There is ONE I know of that's really good and above board.
https://getfivestars.com/

It's backed by Don Campbell, who used to be with Microsoft and is now a major expert in Local SEO. He was on our last InsideLocal webinar.

Guess who else is involved? Mike Blumenthal! So ya, you can bet it's good and adheres to review best practices!
 

Linda Buquet

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Basically they create a new domain called reviews[yourdomain].com and then direct you to one of the main review sites to leave a review.
Dusty, also meant to say I've seen good examples of businesses and consultants doing the same thing they are doing right on the clients own site. Basically you ask if they had a positive or negative experience, then funnel them to 2 different pages. Feedback form on the site if it was negative. 3 or 4 review site choices if it was a good experience. That may be part of what Getfivestars does too. Sorry to say I have not watched the videos so don't know exactly...
 
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Thank Linda. Yeah. I think we could see better results by mimicking that concept on our own site. In the end, the person leaving the review still has to sign up to leave one.
 

jtweav

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Goodreviewproducer.com sounds like they are trying to help you own the conversation about your brand reviews searches. IE "skull candy reviews". I think with ecommerce it's better to use something like www.powerreviews.com see it in action here: Intex Mariner 4 Inflatable Boat (Sold Here)

For local business I would just place testimonials in proper schema formatting. Housed at yourwebsite.com/testimonials. To accomplish the same thing. There are plugins and schema generators out there to help with this.

I?m also keeping an eye on Mike Blumenthal?s getfivestars.com. But for now I just email past customers from free Mail Chimp and I get at least a 10% response to reviews showing up on Google Places rate. Good enough for my partner clients as their competitors seldom have reviews

And don't forget businesses can leave you a review as well: Mihmorandum | The Coolest +Local Feature No One’s Noticed? | ?Google

Hey and while you are talking about reviews here is fun story about fake review justice in action: Faking Reviews? You Could Get Busted At Any Time | Reputation Management

And if you haven't heard this checkout what happened after Obama got a bear hug in a pizza parlor to their reviews: Obama Bear Hug Leads to a Boost in Online Reviews (Negative and Positive) ? ReviewPush

.
 

Phil Rozek

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GetFiveStars is an excellent tool, as Linda said.

Grade.us is also worth checking out.
 
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Sep 18, 2012
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Re: Companies Offering review Services - ARKtech

Hi all,

There are a number of different services available now for reviews.

Let me start with a shameless plug and go from there. ;-) We use but don't offer software. However the model is to do complete reputation work (train businesses on reputation culture, create a collection strategy, monitor, mitigate and market).

It is important to make it simple but also to educate the client on how to obtain authentic reviews, get their staff involved, and get clients, customers or patients to submit them.

If you are seeking a platform, keep in mind that it is useful if it has an option/ funnel for collecting reviews and then redirects back to the owner if it is not a great review AND gives the reviewer the chance to choose where to post the review (we tend to offer Yelp, Google+ Local, and 2-3 more options) if it is a good one. An IP log for tracking doesn't hurt.

Some sites rank and keep the reviews under their control but we like to highlight a few on a testimonial page or slider on the client site as social proof. Also, in today's expanding market, the social sites are rapidly climbing on board (LinkedIn, Facebook, for example) so that type of integration would be important moving forward.

We moved our model over to working in reputation in mid-2012 and have had success with mitigating, and even removal, of negative reviews but it is a tough road to tackle, especially with all the TOS changes and some of the filters (such as Yelp and Google).

If you have tested or reviewed the tools, it would be great to see them here. (This is a reminder for me to get that together as well.) In 2012 there were not a whole lot, but today there are a bunch of fee as well as free options to help.

Thanks for an idea of a series of articles...LOL
 

jtweav

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So your short answer is you teach the company to collect emails and email every customer. You may or may not send them to a page on a website and if they say they had a good experience you then ask them to copy and past on the review website. You directly intercept the bad experiences taking it off line for resolution. These guys have an example of that: Our review funnel system - YouTube by Matthew Hunt (feedback page) Mike Ramsey tipped me off to them.

When launching a new business or to bust ratings you can also go after top reviewers and have other local business review you: Mihmorandum | The Coolest +Local Feature No One’s Noticed? | ?Google
 
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So your short answer is you teach the company to collect emails and email every customer.

You may or may not send them to a page on a website and if they say they had a good experience you then ask them to copy and past on the review website.

You directly intercept the bad experiences taking it off line for resolution.

No, we have an entire system for collection both online and offline using technology making it easy for both the customer and business.

We use a review inbox that gets them back to the owner or to the review site.

Yes, we get them to take it offline BEFORE it appears elsewhere by teaching business owners how to respond and why they need to.

Businesses do not have to email unless they want to. BTW getting customers into a database is something most of our offline clients in the local region do not currently do...which is why we are working training them in conjunction with local orgs.
 

jtweav

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K, Look forward to seeing it in action and or as a service like get5stars online. I guess I'm having trouble conceptualizing it unless its a kiosk or ipad app.
 
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I'm late to this thread. But as someone who has used this "review funnel" tactic for years, and who now operates a service that makes it easy to implement, I have to chime in.

First off, as a marketer, you don't need to pay for a review-getting service if you can put together the assets yourself: a landing page, an email or printed invite, some interaction design to divert potential negative reviewers away from review sites--BOOM, you're done. I did this for years by just creating review landing pages on my clients' websites.

That said, a reasonably-priced service that automates and enhances the setup and management of review funnels for clients can be extremely worthwhile.

First, the value of this service to clients is huge. Reviews are so influential and such a pain point for business owners. So, in turn, we have marketers re-selling our service at >10x what they're are paying for it, and they've literally spent like 15 minutes on it ALL TIME. The economics work.

Second, there can be quite a bit of work in doing this yourself if you really care about conversions. For example, building a review landing page is easy, but can you (1) prioritize and show review sites where a business needs attention today; (2) identify for reviewers those sites where they can login with Facebook, G+, Twitter or Live (big conversion boost); (3) educate and guide the reviewer through the process, etc.

I cover a lot of specific things that go into this in my ebook, The Marketer's Guide to Customer Reviews. (Sorry if this is promotional -- the book is free. Rather than link to our site, here's a link to a review of the book on Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/08/23/the-marketers-guide-to-customer-reviews-and-why-you-should-care/ )
 

jtweav

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Jon thanks for chiming in. Your system does sound cool. But it's all based on sending them to a webpage on grade.us. This helps you pick which review sites to show based on which ones have no recent activity, yes? Very scalable.

It would be interesting to have a study done about if emailing a customer vs sending them to your web funnel generates more reviews. And how quickly after the experience you have to send the invitation.

And I would love someone to challenge Darren Shaws comments about how you have to send emails to customers or hand them a card that describes how to find your business naturally and then leave a review. Look it's very cumbersome. Review Handout Generator from Whitespark and Local Visibility System Why does he says this, because yelp, Google+ and others look at the referring IP address and count them as spam when they come from the same url. So a study of rankings on Google and internally on the review sites themselves when using a funnel page would be awesome.
 

Phil Rozek

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@jtweav

There are several good ways to get reviews. Grade.us is one. Printed instructions are another. GetFiveStars.com is another. Asking verbally and following up by email is good. Some combination of the above methods is ideal.

That one best method or best combination is something you can only determine by testing for yourself. I can say from first-hand experience (which includes my clients’ and their customers’ experience) that the review handouts work. But again, that’s just one method.

So the medium doesn’t really matter. But no matter what, you need to give customers good instructions and at least little direction.
 
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jtweav

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Thanks Phil. I've actually never used the card approach and will try in the future.
 
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Jon thanks for chiming in. Your system does sound cool. But it's all based on sending them to a webpage on grade.us. This helps you pick which review sites to show based on which ones have no recent activity, yes? Very scalable.
Exactly. For this crowd, I should note that our marketers typically white-label the service and have the funnel pages live at their own domain (though still hosted on our cloud infrastructure) or embed them in client websites. That means they can provide the service to their clients without their clients discovering us. It also ties into the point about referrers.

It would be interesting to have a study done about if emailing a customer vs sending them to your web funnel generates more reviews. And how quickly after the experience you have to send the invitation.
Agreed. We are building out better analytics as I write this so that we can start to provide some of this data. Unfortunately when working with scores of third-party sites, it isn't easy!

And I would love someone to challenge Darren Shaws comments about how you have to send emails to customers or hand them a card that describes how to find your business naturally and then leave a review. Look it's very cumbersome. Review Handout Generator from Whitespark and Local Visibility System Why does he says this, because yelp, Google+ and others look at the referring IP address and count them as spam when they come from the same url. So a study of rankings on Google and internally on the review sites themselves when using a funnel page would be awesome.
I wouldn't challenge Darren ;) But the point about referrers is, I think, exaggerated. Why?

1. Yelp is unlikely to publish reviews from new users no matter what. Our approach is to discourage non-Yelpers from posting to Yelp at all. Active Yelpers, on the other hand, are already vetted users, so I doubt the referrer matters that much at that point. Ditto for Google.

2. Also, I would venture a guess that a referrer is unlikely to be flagged unless it's sending a spammer-sized volume of reviews that otherwise looks suspicious.

3. Finally, if we discover that review sites are blocking legitimate reviews because of referrer, we can pretty handily obscure the referrer. I don't like that tactic, though, and so far it hasn't been necessary.

To Darren and Phil's points, there are several good solutions and multitudinous awful ones. I think GFS, Grade.us and Phil's handouts all do it right, but each with a different focus. GFS is "feedback first" and therefore has great customer service value. Grade.us focuses on getting reviews on third-party sites first to realize the marketing/SEO value. Phil's handouts reduce the number of steps (for customers) and moving parts (for business owners). All good.

(BTW, Darren, if you haven't checked us out, I'd love to give you the VIP tour of Grade.us to see what you think. Phil recommended that I reach out to you on this but cautioned that you probably have limited bandwidth.)
 

jtweav

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Jon cool, cool and more cool. I'm sure you could skip the web scrape or api interface with 3rd party sites but the alternative of have someone manually check the sites is even worse.

I look forward to your study results.
 

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