Bazaarvoice has found a comfortable niche enabling user reviews and ratings on the Web sites of its 40-plus retailer clients which have included Macys’s, CompUSA, PETCO and Golfsmith. Many of those customers have built up large volumes of review content on their pages, improving shopper loyalty, conversions and search engine optimization.
Now, the Austin-based company is betting that same review content can travel beyond its customers’ product pages and find a happy home elsewhere on the Web, namely on shopping portals hungry for such user-generated content anyway. Once there, the product ratings will amplify word-of-mouth product buzz and serve to drive traffic and customers back to its clients’ Web sites.
The first portals taking part in the program, called SyndicateVoice, are MSN, Pricerunner.com, and Smarter.com. Ratings and reviews will also appear on Froogle through that site’s open API, not as part of any special agreement with Google. Merchants can specify which of these sites will display its review content.
“Retailers have full control of their consumer generated content to use as an advertising medium,” Sam Decker, VP of marketing and products for Bazaarvoice, told ClickZ News. “They can control which portals can leverage the content and where it will show up. It’s allowing retailers more inventory to do advertising.”
The more reviews Bazaarvoice can push out to shopping portals, the thinking goes, the more reasons those sites’ users will have to navigate back to its customers’ Web sites — and perhaps convert. A fringe benefit will be the improved search engine rankings that inevitably come with an increase in inbound links.
SyndicateVoice works by splicing reviews from participating merchants into XML feeds containing relevant ratings and review excerpts. Those reviews are then integrated with the user reviews already existent on participating shopping portals and comparison sites. Each retailer’s branding is attached to the reviews they syndicate, with links pointing back to their sites. Bazaarvoice makes sure the look and feel of the reviews are consistent with the portals and provides reporting on user interactions with them and inbound traffic from the shopping portals.
Bazaarvoice customers will also have the option of “reverse syndicating” reviews from the shopping portals, increasing their own review content while extending the shopping sites’ brands. Clients own all their rating and review content.
Decker stressed Merchants can syndicate their reviews to any and all participating shopping engines, singly or in combination. “It’s important to note this is an open network,” said Decker. “There are over 50 competing portals and comparison shopping sites out there. It’s in the interest of the retailers to be on all of them.”
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