ReviewBiz – Making Reviews Friction Free

I am a big fan of an ethical review solicitation process that smooths the path between customers and creating reviews. If reviews are going to reflect the overall impression of your business accurately, a broad sampling of your customers needs to participate and it needs to be easy.

I think that the opportunity to easily leave these reviews should be available to all customers not just a select few. In the past, I have suggested that visitors to your website should be provided direct links to leave reviews at a range of popular review sites. I am also a big believer in free tools that make the job of the SMB and their web designer easier.

Brightlocal.com has just introduced such a tool: ReviewBiz. The tool automates the process of locating the relevant review site pages, generating the correct url for leaving the review and creates a widget so that these review links can quickly and easily be included on a website’s testimonial/review page. The tool is an admirable replacement for Michael Jensen’s Leavefeedback.org that unfortunately died in a server crash and was never revived.

The process as outlined on the BrightLocal site to create the widget for your website is quick and easy:

1. Select the country you are in – UK or US (it shows review sites for both countries)
2. Enter your business name & zipcode
3. Review the returned business listing details & confirm that they belong to your business
4. Choose the ReviewBiz widget style that you want to appear on your website
5. Pick the review sites that you want to include
5. Copy & paste the ReviewBiz code into your website

The result is a widget, offered in a choice of widths and two styles; one that offers a window shade drop down and the one shown below that provides a full view of the selected review sites:

Review 'blumenthals.com' with ReviewBiz local SEO tools from BrightLocal.com

As a new product, it still has a few minor quirks but generally works well. For example it sometimes included sites that I explicitely asked it to exclude (like Merchant Circle) and it could do a slightly better job of auto generating the URLs to take a user slightly closer to the actual input screen to leave the reviews. Myles Anderson of Brightlocal has noted that both issues would soon be fixed.

These are minor criticisms. It is valuable product that is presentable, facilitates customers leaving reviews and it is free. For the web designer it is a useful, readily usable product that significantly shortens the time to get the job done. For the SMB that is maintaining their own site, it automatically generates the necessary code and makes the job adding these links to your website easily doable.

As designers and small businesses let me know what you think of the tool. To test it simply select my Google link above and leave a review. :)

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
ReviewBiz - Making Reviews Friction Free by

10 thoughts on “ReviewBiz – Making Reviews Friction Free”

  1. Clicked on the Google icon, signed up for HotPot (why not Hotspot??) and gave you a 5 star rating.

    Though I signed up for hotpot my rating didn’t get assigned a name. oh well. At least it gave you the 5 starts you merit for yeoman’s work on Google Places.

    My oh my, you’ve been prolific over the last few days ;)

    Dave

  2. Hi Mike,

    I have been bugging Myles too since your post, and I can’t wait for the dynamic button options they have in mind. I asked him about creating button images in the mean time that would focus on the industry. Hotels (my client) would prefer TripAdvisor, Yelp, CitySearch, Google Places, Yahoo, Bing, and Foursquare logos in their ReviewBiz button, while restaurants would want Yelp, OpenTable, Zagat, UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor, and CitySearch logos. The biggest thing for my client is that widget is just way too big to be placed on the homepage, but the button would be a perfect addition to the footer navigation (if it could be altered to show review sites we want).

    Take care and thanks for alerting me to BrightLocal,
    Lauren

  3. Wondering if this is going to be disruptive to the process of contacting the biz? Perhaps it comes down to placement on a thank you page or something but I would struggle to place it on the site as I want people filling out lead forms and/or calling.

    Something like this would be awesome as a facebook app that could be pushed to a biz’s fans.

    Anyway, my two bits. I have my clients use bill slips and e-mail to solicit reviews…

  4. @Lauren
    Yes, the upgrades will be nice. Glad you have found the tool as useful as I did and that you perceive the need for the variable icons as well.

    @Lee

    I think your Facebook app idea is a winner.

    I am not sure that I fully understand your hesitancy in putting the widget on the website as a place for an existing client to access…

  5. I just think it’s a distraction as it takes you off the site. Most of the people visiting the site are new visitors… My clients have one page I’d try it on, which is their online bill pay page. I’m open to other ideas about getting reviews and/or placing this widget.

  6. Mike – minor, but the bing link returns an error.

    In principle it is great and shows an awesome level of transparency and a commitment to customer interaction.

    The (admittedly small) downside is customers perhaps leaving your site too early – like Lee I would consider putting it somewhere where this wouldn’t be an issue. It should also be a default that the review page opens in a separate window maybe?

    BTW, I like the spam check box you have, better than captcha.

  7. @Wayne

    Good point about the Bing link! They just can’t get any love.

    I don’t think of this as the only solution to garnering reviews. This is but a small part of a program that should include emails and or personal asks. In that context it can be used via a quick redirect that the client can easily remember – like: barbaraoliverandco.com/reviews

    In this context it brings an existing customer back to your website with the potential for a second sale.

    Yes, I added the check box and it dramatically slowed down spam.

  8. A big thanks to Mike for covering ReviewBiz in his blog. We’ve received a lot of interest in the tool and had some excellent feedback – lots within the comments here. Here are some quick responses –

    @Lauren – we’re working on some more flexible options for customising reviewbiz for specific businesses/industries – will be a couple of months until these are rolled out though

    @Lee – the FB app is a great idea and one that we have slated for phase 2 of ReviewBiz. Also, we’re developing an HTML email version of ReviewBiz so when you create the widget you also get an email you can forward to existing customers. This should launch in next 1-2 weeks.

    @Wayne – good suggestion about opening in a new window – we’re now changing the widget to do this as standard

    Thanks to you all for taking an interest in ReviewBiz and for sharing your thoughts. Please sign-up for the free Beta trials for our other planned local SEO tools – it would be great to get your views on those too when they launch.

    Thanks, Myles

  9. @ Mike @ Wayne

    We’ve fixed the Bing link issue – link now works on Mike’s widget

    Good spot Wayne – cheers

    Myles

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