Would You Take Door No. 1 or Door No. 2?

So if you€™re looking for a way to get people to write reviews about local businesses, what would you do? Insider Pages is offering a $10 Shell gas gift card to members when they review 10 local businesses. You are required to register, but if you follow their rules, such as each review being at least 50 words, you automatically win the free gas.

Yahoo! takes a different approach. Every time a member writes a review, s/he gets entered into a contest to win a Mazda, a fancy trip or a Dell DJ. Which one of these approaches will be the more successful? Obviously it€™s difficult to make a comparison because many more people are likely to see the Yahoo! offer than the Insider Pages offer.

Insider Pages CEO Stu MacFarlane said, €œGas prices aren€™t the only things that are going through the roof.€ They claim to have 250,000 customer reviews. It seems to me that the people most likely to make the reviews are going to be younger, which is okay because they probably match the demographics of the people who would be using the reviews.

To take a big picture view, business will be better at serving customers if they get feedback. And so over time, these reviews could actually enhance domestic productivity. If that sounds like a stretch, consider how much credence you would pay if a business had 10 reviews. It would get my attention. But people aren€™t likely to take the time to provide a review if they don€™t get some reinforcement. That€™s why I like Insider Pages€™ approach€¦I like the fact that I€™m helping to populate and enhance the value of a Web site while getting $10 worth of gas.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Neal

    I used service magic the other day to find some housekeeping help. I got a call 10 minutes later and hired the person 3 days later. The reviews on service magic were very helpful.

  2. Peter

    How does ratings and traditional YP business go hand?

    If a business gets bad reviews on a site, wouldn't you expect them to stop advertising on that site and move their money somewhere else?

    And what about fake reviews – that would be my major concern as a YP publisher. I've looked around at different review sites, and some reviews are just too good, and too well written to be credible.

    /Peter

  3. Donna

    The percentage of the population, online or off, that create user ratings is in the low single digits. Nothwithstanding the successful Zagat enterprise, 250,000 user reviews is a small amount in relation to the terrain covered: 70 markets, perhaps 4-5 different books per market and 300-400 businesses listed per book yields about 315 books of complied user reviews of about 100,000 businesses. Small numbers of contributors are behind each review and the businesses selected to be reviewed are a small percentage of the businesses in a given market.

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