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Adorama Taps Into the Power of TurnTo Review Syndication For More Content

July 10, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

Although probably best known as the world’s favorite camera store, specialist retailer Adorama also sells a wide assortment of products, including professional video and audio gear, consumer electronics, home office equipment, and mobile computing products.

Adorama’s customer base consists of professional photographers and videographers, but also includes some pretty serious amateur ones as well. These shoppers spend hours closely researching the technical specifications of the types of products in Adorama’s catalog.

Adorama understands the meaning of customer-centric. Their NYC store, for example, has developed a reputation for providing one-on-one customer service from a staff of highly knowledgeable—but still friendly and approachable—experts.

“Shoppers looking for photography equipment and other consumer electronics have a slew of options to choose from,” said Heather Nichols, Adorama’s pro audio and pro video digital merchandiser. “Part of how Adorama puts itself ahead of the competition is by giving customers easy access to expertise about our products through our sales associates.”

The Challenge

Naturally, the company wanted to replicate its superb in-store customer experience on its website.

Nichols said a key element of that strategy was to increase the number of reviews available to shoppers on its site. That way its customers could tap into the collective wisdom of one of the most trusted sources of information available—other shoppers.

“Our customers tend to do a lot of research because they want to make sure an item fits their specific needs, especially because a lot of our products are so technical,” said Nichols. “A lot of people use reviews to make a final decision on their purchase.”

That’s where TurnTo came in.

The Solution – Syndicated Reviews

Through its Open Review Syndication service, TurnTo quickly increased the number of product reviews on Adorama’s site. While some Customer-Generated Content vendors charge steep fees for syndication, TurnTo’s Syndication service is offered at no additional charge for either retailers or brands, ensuring that the maximum number of brands participate.

With TurnTo Syndication, reviews collected by some of the biggest brands in the consumer electronics vertical—like Sony, HP, Canon, and Nikon—also displayed on Adorama’s online storefront. As a result, Adorama saw a 294% spike in the number of reviews displayed on its site.

Getting more reviews has a direct, positive impact on conversion rates. Research from Northwestern University’s Spiegel Center shows that a product with just five reviews was 270% more likely to be purchased than a product with no reviews.

TurnTo Syndication also improved Adorama’s coverage rate—the percentage of products in the company’s catalog that have at least one review.

For example, the coverage rate for HP products on Adorama’s site more than doubled once syndicated reviews were included.

In addition, the average number of ratings per HP product also saw a boost with TurnTo Syndication, increasing by more than 12x. That was especially helpful for Adorama, since more reviews provide social proof for a purchase, helping to convert shoppers to buyers.

Free Syndication for Brands

Adorama’s brand partners were able to participate in TurnTo’s Open Review Syndication at no cost, even if they used another platform to collect and manage Customer-Generated Content on their own site. The brands only needed to give TurnTo permission to syndicate their reviews to the retailers in the TurnTo network.

The brands that syndicated their content through TurnTo also received a number of benefits, including a better digital presence, improved sell-through value, and search engine optimization (SEO) credit.

The Bottom Line

Adorama wanted to bulk up the Customer-Generated Content featured on its online store to help its customers get the information they were looking for when researching products. With TurnTo Review Syndication, Adorama quickly increased the number of product reviews on its site by nearly 300%.

About TurnTo

TurnTo is the customer content solution for online retailers and the brands that sell through them. With a unique suite of four innovative products that work beautifully together – Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews, and Checkout Comments – TurnTo produces more content of more different types, delivering greater conversion lift, better SEO, and deeper merchandising insights.

About Adorama

Adorama is the world’s only full-service destination for photo, video and electronics. We’re more than a camera store – we offer the best selection and prices on professional photography and video gear, pro-audio, and consumer electronics such as home theaters, mobile computing, home office equipment and more. Adorama Rental Co also rents and supports the full range of still and motion cameras (including lenses & accessories), lighting, and grip equipment.

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There’s A Surprisingly Low-Tech Way for eCommerce Sites to Draw New Customers

June 26, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

One of the constant challenges eCommerce sites face is how to draw new customers while keeping a lid on expenses. It’s the reason that eCommerce VPs keep such a close eye on their customer acquisition costs (CACs)—a key metric for any online store.

Some new data suggests there’s a surprisingly low-tech way for online retailers to drive new shoppers to their sites. It’s also pretty old school. It’s word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing.

Word of Mouth Beats Search for Discoverability

A new poll from Yes Marketing reveals that a fair number of digital shoppers use their offline personal networks to learn about unfamiliar retailers.

In fact, Yes Marketing found that 45% of online shoppers discovered a new retailer through a recommendation from a friend or family member.1 That was nearly three times the number of shoppers who had stumbled across a new retailer through a Google search.

But retailers should also tread carefully regarding word-of-mouth. Unsurprisingly, a bad reputation can have a harmful effect on your bottom line. Yes Marketing reported that nearly 70% of shoppers were swayed to avoid a retailer after seeing a negative review from family, friends, or news media.

Of course, drumming up some good word-of-mouth around your online store is easier said than done. You need to deliver quality products at a good price, offer a superior user experience, and provide shoppers with top-notch customer service—no small feat.

One way to improve your word-of-mouth marketing? Yes Marketing suggests giving your existing customers a reason to share their satisfaction by providing them with an incentive. That could consist of an exclusive offer, or a discount for those who recruit a new customer on your behalf.

Get Your Digital WOM On

eCommerce sites can also improve their word-of-mouth marketing with some digital strategies. Ratings and reviews, for example, can serve the same purpose as a personal recommendation. And while they might not provide all the benefits as a recommendation from a friend or family member, ratings and reviews perform a key task: providing shoppers with the social proof they need to overcome their hesitation about a purchase.

Yes Marketing noted that almost 20% of online shoppers were influenced by reviews or customer testimonials when considering making a purchase from a new site. And more than a third of shoppers said getting enough product information from a new retailer would help them to build trust.

When done correctly, Customer-Generated Content (CGC) can address those shopper needs.

Yes Marketing also suggested using content from product reviews and other testimonials in advertising campaigns.

It makes perfect sense. Your most satisfied customers are handing you some of the best ad copy you could ever come up with. Take advantage of it.

TurnTo Can Help

It’s helpful to think of your product reviews, customer testimonials and other CGC as a form of digital word-of-mouth marketing.

CGC can help retailers flesh out their product detail pages with information not normally found in a product description, such as fit or durability.

Sometimes those details are all that’s needed to push someone browsing your site into making a purchase.

TurnTo’s products are designed to collect more Customer-Generated Content like Ratings & Reviews and Visual Reviews so shoppers have a surplus of information at their fingertips. And research shows that the more reviews you have, the better.

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Source:

1 The Retail Shopper’s Journey to Loyalty; Yes Marketing, June 2019

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5 Ways to Increase Your Customer-Generated Content Collection

May 29, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

Gathering as much Customer-Generated Content (CGC) as possible can help your eCommerce site in a number of ways. Content like Ratings & Reviews gives shoppers additional product information, provides social proof for a purchase, and improves search engine optimization (SEO).

Research also shows that your customers want as much content as they can get: a study from Salsify found that, on average, people wanted to see 112 reviews per product.

In a guest post for TurnTo partner and eCommerce agency Classy Llama, we broke down 5 key ways that online stores can improve their content collection rates. Here’s an executive summary of our advice:

1. Get your post-purchase email right. If you want more reviews, you have to ask.

2. Ask your customers to review more stuff. It might seem counterintuitive to ask customers to hand over more content right after they’ve submitted a review, but it works.

3. Optimize for mobile. Mobile is eating the world, and if your content collection strategy isn’t taking that into account, you’re missing out.

4. Get the review first, then authenticate. Asking a customer to authenticate before they’ve submitted content only introduces a possible friction point.

5. Go omnichannel. Consider ways to solicit content from offline channels, like receipts or even packaging.

For a more detailed breakdown of these strategies, check out the full post.

Want to find out how TurnTo can help you improve your content collection strategy?

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Do People Write Reviews Differently on Their Smartphones? You Bet.

May 23, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

Are your shoppers leaving fundamentally different reviews on their smartphones than they would on PCs? Some new research from a few business professors suggests that’s exactly what’s happening.

In their paper, “Selectively Emotional: How Smartphone Use Changes User-Generated Content,” authors Shiri Melumad of the Wharton School, J. Jeffrey Inman of Pitt Business, and Michel Tuan Pham of Columbia Business School found that reviews written on smartphones were shorter than those composed on PCs—no surprise there.1

But the researchers also found that smartphone reviews had a higher amount of emotional content when compared with reviews from PCs.

Smartphone Reviews Tend Toward Positivity

Even more interestingly, the study revealed that user-generated content (UGC) written on smartphones tended to be largely positive in nature.

The researchers suggested that the trends they discovered were likely to be seen across a number of platforms and topics, and not just the ones they examined in their study.

In addition, they noted that previous research had shown that an increase in positive sentiment in Amazon reviews led to higher customer conversion rates.

They also offered a simple recommendation for companies: use a content collection strategy that encourages customers to submit reviews from their smartphones.

“Research shows that content that’s more emotional is more likely to go viral, or be shared and discussed by others,” lead author Melumad said in an interview on the Knowledge@Wharton podcast. “From the firm’s perspective, knowing that reviews have been written on phones–and thus more likely to be emotional—can help the firm identify which customer-generated content may be the most influential.”2

Key Takeaways from the Research:

  • Reviews written on smartphones, are shorter, have more emotional content, and are more positive than those written on PCs.
  • Other data shows an increase in positive sentiment in Amazon reviews led to a higher conversion rate.
  • Reviews with more emotional content are more likely to go viral or be shared.
  • eCommerce sites should consider encouraging shoppers to submit Customer-Generated Content (CGC) on a smartphone to take advantage of its more positive nature.

How to Capture Positive Sentiment

One key insight from the paper: eCommerce sites should ensure their Customer-Generated Content (CGC) collection strategy is optimized for mobile if they want to capture as much positive sentiment as possible.

One way online stores can do that is by making sure they use responsive web design—essentially ensuring that their web pages are being displayed correctly regardless of what device a shopper is on.

TurnTo, for example, gives users the ability to set configurable breakpoints in the widgets for our four products—Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews, and Checkout Comments. That ensures product detail pages always look their best on smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops.

Not only that, but TurnTo’s review collection process identifies customers on smartphones and offers them a tailored user experience designed to make it as easy as possible to get content.

Another way TurnTo eliminates friction points is with our Inbox Submission feature that lets your customers submit reviews directly from the body of an email, instead of being sent to a browser.

That simple change has resulted in some significant gains for our clients; with the less intrusive approach, content collection rates can increase by as much as 200%.

Measurement matters too. That’s why TurnTo’s reporting tools include breakdowns by device. Say, for example, the word counts of your reviews drop, but overall positive sentiment spikes. With TurnTo reporting, you can analyze the data to see if the change resulted from an increase of reviews coming from mobile devices.

Want to learn more?

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Sources:

1 Selectively Emotional: How Smartphone Use Changes User-Generated Content; Journal of Marketing Research, January 2019

2 User-Generated Content: The Medium Impacts the Message; Knowledge@Wharton, May 2019

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TurnTo Releases New SpeedFlex™ Widget Architecture for Faster Site Speeds and Highly Tailored PDPs

May 2, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

TurnTo Networks has announced the release of its new SpeedFlex™ widget architecture, supporting its full Customer-Generated Content suite of Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews™, and Checkout Comments™. SpeedFlex™ combines the lightest, fastest-loading widget components with a server-side customization model that gives full control over layout and functionality as well as look and feel.

With SpeedFlex™, eCommerce sites no longer face a trade-off between a slow-loading but easy widget implementation, or a fast-loading but time consuming API project. Now, brands and retailers can have the best of both approaches: customer experiences that are uniquely tailored to their brand and product categories, a quick implementation with minimal effort, and fast page loads that improve conversion rates and deliver meaningful search engine optimization (SEO).

An architecture designed for speed

Compared to the other leading enterprise customer content platforms, TurnTo’s SpeedFlex™ provides a JavaScript bundle that is one half to one quarter the size and is parsed, evaluated, and executed by the browser 2-3 times faster.

To achieve these performance levels, TurnTo wrote the SpeedFlex™ code from the ground up using the most modern and efficient reactive JavaScript to deliver a full enterprise feature set in the smallest package. Speed is further improved through a configuration model that loads only the exact code needed for each page and the replacement of heavy sprite graphics with vector SVG images.

Page load speed is an important factor for conversion rates and for SEO. Making web pages load faster can reduce abandonment rates by 20%. And with its recent “Speed Update,” Google’s search ranking algorithm now privileges fast loading pages, especially on mobile.

Since product reviews, Q&A, and customer-generated photos are some of the heaviest components on eCommerce sites, the speed improvements provided by SpeedFlex™ can make a significant difference to overall site performance.

Unique customer experiences without API work

SpeedFlex™ enables online stores to easily tailor not only look-and-feel but also layout and even functionality without resorting to time-consuming API work. With TurnTo’s unique new architecture, configurations of all aspects of design and information architecture are composed server-side and dynamically loaded to the production environment. Configurable breakpoints ensure optimized display on all device types from a single theme definition. With this approach:

  • Changes made to the configuration appear immediately on the site without the need to edit code on the page itself
  • A single page type can support multiple design theme variants for A/B testing
  • The functions and experience provided to the shopper can vary depending on the category of the product

Bliss sees dramatic performance improvements

When skincare brand Bliss switched to TurnTo and implemented SpeedFlex™ on www.blissworld.com, the file size and load time of their product reviews components decreased to less than half of what they were before.

“We’ve been highly satisfied with our switch to TurnTo,” said Karilyn Anderson, VP of Digital at Bliss. “With TurnTo’s SpeedFlex™ architecture, we were able to easily achieve a highly customized layout and look exactly tailored for our brand, while at the same time significantly improving our site performance.”

“SpeedFlex™ is not only the highest-performance widget platform for enterprise-scale eCommerce sites today, it’s the foundation for our vision of bespoke customer experiences, going forward,” said George Eberstadt, TurnTo’s Founder and CEO, said. “In today’s competitive world, one-size-fits-all is not a winning strategy; brands and stores have to differentiate and deliver unique, compelling experiences. SpeedFlex™ enables the rapid innovation that leads to real business advantage for our customers.”

Want to find out more about how TurnTo can help your business?

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Here’s How eCommerce Sites Can Start Decoding Gen Z

April 11, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

Tired of reading clickbait about Millennials’ love of avocado toast? Here’s some good news: GenZ is the next new generation, and over the next few years, people are going to be working hard to figure out this vibrant and dynamic group—the first truly digital native generation.

The boundaries of the US’s youngest generation are still somewhat fuzzy, but the Pew Research Center defines Gen Z as those born in 1997 or later.1

What sets Gen Z apart from its predecessors? For starters, it’s the most racially and ethnically diverse generation the US has ever seen—a group with even greater diversity than Millennials, according to Pew.

Gen Z Has Truly Digital-First Media Habits

It also consumes media in a fundamentally different way than any of its forebears. The oldest Gen Zers were only 10 years old when Apple released the first iPhone; smartphones are likely their default method for heading online.

The Center for Generational Kinetics reports that 95% of Gen Zers had a smartphone in 2018. Their survey also revealed that 61% of Gen Zers spent at least five hours on their smartphone per day, and that more than one-quarter spent a daily average of 10 hours or more with the devices.2

With so much of their time spent on smartphones, legacy media channels like TV hold significantly less sway over them than older generations. That means marketers can have a tough time reaching them at scale through more traditional advertising methods.

Teens and the Power of Recommendations and Reviews

Those media habits could make Gen Z a tough nut for online merchants to crack. But some new research from Social Media Link found that there are still some things that do exert a lot of influence over their purchase decisions: recommendations and reviews.3

According to the company’s survey, nearly all Gen Zers (96%) said they often read recommendations or reviews for products they were thinking about buying.

 

These young shoppers also relied heavily on their personal networks for guidance on purchase decisions. 80% of teens looked to friends and family for recommendations about new products and brands, making it their No. 1 source for those types of endorsements.

 

But online reviews were almost as popular with Gen Zers, with nearly eight in 10 accessing them for insights on potential purchases and brands. In fact, reviews were a bigger influence on their purchase decisions than social media, influencers, and even ads.

Social Media Link also found that these young shoppers aren’t just likely to read product reviews. They’re also highly predisposed to writing them as well. More than 90% of Gen Zers wrote product reviews at least some of the time, and more than a quarter wrote one for every product or service they used.

 

To sum up the research:

  • 96% of Gen Zers often read ratings and reviews about things they’re thinking about buying.
  • Members of the generation tend to look first to friends and family for product recommendations, but online reviews are a close second.
  • Gen Zers are not just reading reviews; more than 9 in 10 also write them for at least some purchases
  • Gen Z spends substantially more time on smartphones than with older media platforms like TV

To Reach Gen Z, Think Mobile-First

Gen Z shoppers, like pretty much all customers, want to see a lot of reviews. TurnTo can help with our Ratings & Reviews product, which generates more Customer-Generated Content than any other.

Just like our entire product suite, Ratings & Reviews is mobile-first and uses responsive design principles to make reviews submitted on a smartphone frictionless. To be clear, we’re not just making things look pretty on mobile devices. We’re changing the way content is collected based on smartphone users’ behavior.

It’s an approach that makes things as easy as possible for Gen Zers on smartphones—who, remember, are already primed to write reviews—to submit more content about their purchases to eCommerce sites.

TurnTo’s Visual Reviews takes this mobile-first approach a step further. Its visual-first collection flow lets shoppers send photos and videos to eCommerce sites with just a few taps. As a result, eCommerce sites get to bank even more content on their product pages, and customers don’t even have to type anything out.

Want to learn more about how TurnTo’s innovative products can help you connect with Gen Z?

Get In Touch

Sources:

1 Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins; Pew Research Center, January 2019

2 How Obsessed is Gen Z with Mobile Technology?; The Center for Generational Kinetics, 2018

3 Infographic: 27% of Gen Zers Say They Always Write a Product Review After Making a Purchase; Adweek, April 2018

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The next generation of product reviews will “look” very different

September 8, 2015 by John Swords

… And we mean LOOK different.

Consider:

  • 90% of reviews come in response to emails
  • >60% of emails are opened on phones
  • Phones are bad for long text (like reviews)
  • Phones are great for photos!

The implications are clear:

  • Your strategy for collecting customer reviews needs to work on phones
  • On phones, the strategy should be “visual first.”

Individual-Chicken-Pot-Pie-02-300x200So what is a visual review?  It’s a photo (or video) submitted by a customer in response to a request for a review – the proverbial picture that is worth a thousand words.  Instead of text stating, “With my new cookware, I was finally able to perfectly brown the crust of my famous chicken-pot-pie,” it is a photo of that perfect chicken-pot-pie.

Instead of text stating, “The shirt fit perfectly, with no extra blousing around my waist,” it is a selfie of the customer looking great in her new shirt.

Instead of text stating, “The fabric on the sofa was gorgeous, but the cushions were way too saggy,” it is a photo of the sofa with its gorgeous fabric and saggy cushions.

Far from being yet another “gotta-keep-up-with-changing-platforms chore,” the shift to visual content that the rise of smart phones demands creates a huge opportunity.  Simply put, visual content converts better.  Few shoppers have the patience to read the full body of customer reviews, and those that read any rarely go past the first couple of entries.  So while having lots of reviews is valuable for signaling that an item is popular, most of the text you are collecting has little impact on conversion.  On the other hand, shoppers can scan an image gallery in a blink and come away with a powerful, visceral sense of the appeal of a product.

This is not to say that you should abandon collecting text reviews; there is plenty of information in text reviews that images can’t convey.  If a customer is on a desktop when they get your request to write a review, you should lead with the request for a standard text review (with an option to attach an image).  But when the customer is on a mobile device, don’t try to force a round peg into a square hole by asking for text.  Instead, ask the customer to do what comes more naturally on these devices and submit an image.

The applications are broad and go way beyond selfies. Image subjects can vary such as:

  • Things made with the product (cooking, crafts, do-it-yourself projects)
  • The product in use (home furnishings, hobby items)
  • Unboxing and explainers (electronics, fashion)
  • Travel (Hotel rooms, attractions)
  • And yes, selfies (fashion, beauty, sporting goods)

Visual reviews are a great complement to imagery you can gather from social media sites, if you’ve taken that approach.  But visual reviews also have some important advantages over social media harvesting and may be all the visual content collection you need:

  • Images are automatically connected to the relevant SKU (saving a lot of work)
  • Usage rights are automatically acquired
  • You can collect a lot more images, since there is a big portion of your customer base that is happy to write a review but isn’t going to post your product to their Instagram page.
  • The image collection is continuous; there’s no need for special hashtag campaigns

So as we said, the next generation of product reviews is going to look very different.

TurnTo Launches A State-Of-The-Art Product Ratings & Reviews System

December 3, 2014 by John Swords

We’re thrilled to announce the general availability of our state-of-the-art product Ratings & Reviews system.  You can read the press release here or download the product fact sheet here.

To provide some more context, I sat down with our CEO to discuss how this new product came about.

Heather:  TurnTo is well known for providing the top-performing community-powered Q&A solution for eCommerce.  Why branch out to Ratings & Reviews?

George:  Well, we resisted for a long time!  One reason we’ve been able to build up such a lead on the Q&A side is focus.  But 4 things changed our minds. I’ll go through them:

  • First, some businesses wanted to adopt our Q&A without increasing their vendor count.  Our Q&A has always been targeted at businesses that take a best-of-breed approach to vendors; but with integrated Ratings & Reviews we can meet the needs of those who prefer suite providers, too.
  • Second, we identified some very exciting ways to integrate the two products to deliver more value than either can alone.
  • Third, we realized that all of the enterprise-grade infrastructure we built for Q&A could be leveraged by our Ratings & Reviews product, enabling us to rapidly build out the application and launch with a full enterprise-ready feature set.
  • And finally, our customer research revealed some pretty wide-spread dissatisfaction with the existing choices and a strong demand for a better option.

Heather: What was the overall philosophy behind the design of TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews product?

George:  We spent a lot of time talking with both current customers and prospects to understand what they wanted in a Ratings & Reviews product, and the feedback was very consistent: all the important functions that have been proven to work, beautifully executed, on an enterprise-grade platform, at an affordable price.  We also heard consistent requests to stay away from bells and whistles that don’t add value and clutter up the user experience or make the system management difficult just to appear different.  The architect Mies van der Rohe was famous for saying “God is in the details”, by which he meant creativity doesn’t necessarily require wild gestures – there’s plenty of opportunity for innovation in just honing an idea until it’s really right.  I’d say that was the philosophy guiding us here.

Heather: OK, so there’s nothing radically different about TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews product, but are there still some innovations you’d like to point out?

George:  At the application level, one nice touch is that the “purchaser credential” (like the Verified Buyer badge) provides an approximate date of purchase.  That increases the credibility of the review and also enables the shopper to see how much experience the reviewer has had with the product.  We also offer state-of-the-art mobile capabilities – responsive design right out of the box and phone-optimized UX for review collection.  Plus, as I mentioned, we’ve found some very valuable new ways to integrate Ratings & Reviews with Q&A.  For example, when a shopper enters a question, our Instant Answers feature now searches the Ratings & Reviews for relevant information (as well as the existing Q&A dialog and the store’s knowledge base).  Also, the please-review-your-purchase email can now include an offer for customers to get help with their recent purchase from others who already own the item.  That turns Q&A into a post-purchase support tool; and by coupling it to the  review solicitation, stores can head off potential negative reviews and turn them into positive ones.

Heather: How has the market received TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews so far?

George:  The reception has been great.  Many of our existing Q&A customers have already or are in the process of switching their reviews over to us, too.  Many of our new customers are signing up for both reviews and Q&A together.  And we’ve even got a some new customers who are starting with our Ratings & Reviews and planning to add Q&A later.  And that’s all before we’ve really started to market this new product.

Heather:  Does this mean TurnTo is no longer a “Q&A first” company?

George:  No, we’re still Q&A-first.  We expect that online business who are satisfied with the current reviews providers will still come to us for best-of-breed community-powered Q&A.  It’s already the industry leader, and we have many big enhancements coming in 2015.  But when you look the whole package of our Ratings & Reviews offering – the product itself, TurnTo’s outstanding support, affordability, integration with our industry-leading Q&A, and our extraordinary roadmap – it compares very favorably to the existing alternatives.

Trust = Influence

April 23, 2009 by George Eberstadt

There are lots of reasons why advice from friends is so much more influential than advice from strangers.  Trust is a big one.  The Wall Street Journal today has a piece about the growing sway marketers have over product recommendations online.  “Paid to Pitch: Product Reviews by Bloggers Draw Scrutiny.”  I was particularly struck by the marketer who requires bloggers he hires to use a seal that says “Sponsored Post.  100% Real Opinion.”  It’s so murky.  Even if the overwhelming majority of amateur reviewers have no commercial interest (or hope of one in the future), the fact that some do undermines trust in the rest.  There is always something comforting about knowing that the person you’re getting advice from is putting you first.

TurnTo presentation at OnMedia – Part 1

February 3, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Here’s the TurnTo presentation from the OnMedia conference today.  This talk focuses on the whole idea of “Trusted References”.  The TurnTo part goes from roughly minute 1 to minute 10.  (I’m hoping the conference will provide a version of this without the side-bar.  I’ll upgrade if we get one…)

Presentation from the Social Networking Conference

January 23, 2009 by George Eberstadt

I just got back from the Social Networking Conference in Miami.  Here’s the presentation I gave, titled “Ecommerce Meets Social Networks: A Different Approach to Driving Online Referrals”.  The usual caveats about slides-without-accompanying-commentary apply.

View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: trusted references)

New Feature: Rave

January 22, 2009 by George Eberstadt

We just rolled out Rave.  If you’ve had a particularly good experience with a product from a TurnTo network site – the sort of experience you’d normally tell your friends about – rave it.  Your TurnTo friends will see your rave in their TurnTo news feed, and you can also push it out to your Facebook friends.  (Coming soon: you’ll be able to push your raves out to other networks, Twitter, and the like…)  Other people can see your raves, too, but we don’t push it to them, and they don’t see your name as the author.

How come only “rave” and not “pan”?  The main idea behind rave is to make it easy for you to bring something to the attention of your friends that they might find valuable.  Getting warned off of a bad product is useful mainly if you were already considering it.  There’s no need to tell me not to get something I didn’t want anyway.  But getting alerted to something really special can spark a brand new idea.  Plus, we wanted to focus on the positive.  And a lot of our partner sites already have tools for collecting ratings and reviews, so we felt it was more important to focus on the communicating-with-friends aspect than on collecting scores and feedback.

We’d love to hear what you think.  Please drop us line.