Can You Make Money in the Product Review Business?
(by Tony Thomas Tue Jan 8th 9:05 PM)
Dave was in the market for a new camera so he visited his local camera store and chatted with one of the salesmen. Over the years he has gotten good advice from this particular salesman and he has grown to trust his opinions. The salesman recommended a high-end camera from one of the top Japanese camera manufacturers. The “specs” were very good, the camera felt just right in his hand and he could afford the asking price. He bought the camera but within 3 weeks of using it he noticed strange dots on his photographs. Cleaning did not help. He later found out that there were numerous complaints about dust and oil splatter on the camera’s sensor.
Some photographers who were considering buying this new camera, read reviews and were alerted about the dusty/oily sensor problems. Some waited until the problem was corrected while others looked at similar cameras. But Dave endured weeks of frustration as he struggled to get his new camera to work properly.
What’s the point of this story? Dave could have avoided weeks of headaches if he had read the reviews and complaints that were easily available online.
In today’s technology-laden world, most people have easy access to information on a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. Surveys have shown that consumers are using these media to find reviews about products and services before spending their money. So it is safe to say that reviews are influencing customers’ buying decisions.
Websites have been developed to cater to this habit. Going to visit Disney in Orlando? Check out the hotel reviews at TripAdvisor.com. Want to see reviews about an online store? Check ResellerRatings.com. Want to try something new for dinner? Check out the recipes and reviews at Epicurious.com. Customers are also checking out the reviews at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, BHPhotoVideo.com, TigerDirect.com, OfficeDepot.com and other online stores.
However it has been noted that some reviews are written by persons with links to the product, place or service being reviewed. In other words, not all reviews are from customers who bought products and services and gave their honest opinions. Another issue with reviews is the fact that some popular products like the “EatSmart Precision Pro – Multifunction Digital Kitchen Scale” have over a thousand reviews. These challenges offer an opportunity for the creative entrepreneur.
One company based in Seattle Washington has invested heavily in the product review business. The company uses its “patent-pending machine learning and text mining algorithms on billions of price points across millions of products, blog posts, and articles on the web to enable shoppers to make the best buying decision possible.” Basically the company has taken the online reviews and opinions of several shoppers and use what it considers as the better reviews on its site.
There are millions of products bought and sold each day. Some of these have at least 5 reviews. The creative entrepreneur can help potential buyers by selecting the better reviews and featuring these on a website or in a video. Some Amazon Affiliates have created websites for specific products sold at Amazon and have used the reviews to help sell the products.
A very practical idea for an entrepreneur in Jamaica is the creation of videos for visiting tourists. For example a video of Montego Bay with images of the restaurants, shops, nightclubs, beaches, and other points of interest would be well received if done professionally. To stand out among the other videos about the City of Montego Bay you could mention recent developments in the area and upcoming events such as the 2013 Jazz and Blues Festival. The video could be featured on YouTube or Vimeo.
You can monetize the video by partnering with YouTube. Details here.
Another business model related to reviews is Angie’s List. “More than 1.5 million households nationwide check Angie’s List reviews to find the best local service providers, like roofers, plumbers, handymen, mechanics, doctors and dentists.”
Angie’s List is supported by paying members in the USA and parts of Canada. The reviews they write are checked before they are published. This ensures a fair and objective appraisal of services rendered and prevents service providers from writing reviews about themselves. It also prevents companies from writing negative comments about their competitors.
A model like Angie’s List for the island of Jamaica could be a big success. Will you be the first to make it happen?
YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW: Consumer Reports – the foremost product review company – has about 3 million online subscribers and 4 million subscribers to its famous magazine. Members pay over US$100 million dollars per year to the company. Some of this money is used to buy the products they test including the 2013 Honda Accord which they raved about recently. I mention the Accord because it has faced stiff competition from the Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion recently and Consumer Reports have been vocal in urging Honda to return to their prestige of decades past.