You're probably thinking that there is already loads of review sites out there on the web, so what is different about this particular one? I spoke to Iain Wood, the mastermind behind it to find out:
- How did the idea of whoopie.net come about?
It was a strange co-incidence really, I have been working on a lot of sites that 'vet' their reviews. It's all understandable from their point of view, but I was always a little uncomfortable with it. It gets really bad when I heard that once company I was at actually had junior members of staff registering with the review websites and posting good reviews. At that point I thought we needed some sort of way of verifying the person who put the review was reliable, Facebook accounts jumped to mind and that set me off.
- How does whoopie.net work?
It's simple really, there is a bookmarklet - (a link in your bookmarks bar that runs the code) and a google chrome extension for chrome users. Just click on the button when you want to read reviews about the page you are on, that's it. To post a review you need to log in with an account from one of the four big social media websites (facebook, google, linkedin or twitter). This means we can track reviewers as well. The reviewer has to 'own up' as to who they are online (no more anonymous cowards).
- Most review sites have ratings that aren't always valid. E.g. Negative reviews left by company competitors or disgruntled customers and Positive reviews left by "paid employees" or through business paid enhanced listings offered by the review site. How is Whoopie.net different?
Well it's going to be tougher to fake reviews as you'll also need to fake a facebook / google / twitter profile as well, also I'm working on a trustrank system, people who post useful reviews will get rated by other users, this pushes their trustrank up and they then rank higher on the reviews. Conversely dodgy reviews are voted down - the trick is that the reviewers reviews across the board get downgraded, so it wouldn't be long before a fake account was knocked out of the system.
- It has been known from Marketing research that review sites influence customers shopping behaviour. With Whoopie.net being a more truthful consumer based review site, how will it influence the customers shopping from a businesses point of view?
I think some businesses will panic, I can think of a few off the top of my head! Hopefully it will result in the companies actually listening to the consumer rather than brushing negative reviews under the carpet. I't would be great if it built up trust with the business though as well. I know that a single negative review will not put me off something, I tend to look at the ones that score middle of the road, they tend to be from the people who have had good and bad, they you just have to weigh up your opinion of the risk.
- Where do you think Whoopie will go in the future?
Well it's very early days, I want to work in some more features,such as a more generic comment feature for those who don't want to review and try to get a solid user base. I also want to add a fun element, scores and rankings, top reviewers and so on. Right now I just want people out there reviewing anything and everything.