Yesterday we launched our website with a widely distributed press release (see earlier post). We have uploaded numerous business listings with basic information from all over the place, and continue to do so, but the press release brought the attention of one business owner to BoaterRated, and they asked to have their listing deleted in the interest of controlling their own message.
Frankly, it came somewhat out of the blue that someone would not want to take advantage of the great service we offer with BoaterRated (doesn’t EVERYbody offer the very best service or product in their market?). While we think we are the first to apply this kind of service to the marine industry, we have taken cues for our site from existing sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and others. In fact, our software is modified from an off-the-shelf review package that somebody thought would have enough demand to offer for applications to different industries all over.
We get our listings from various sources, and I can’t say definitively where we got the basic information about any particular company. I google them occasionally and generally find them listed in numerous guides and memberships, some even with reviews. We also get information from our users who correct erroneous information or add new listings of additional businesses.
As everyone surely knows, it’s impossible to maintain control over content on the web. People have a right to talk about whatever they like, and folks in the boating community tend to be more opinionated than most. BoaterRated.com merely acts as a forum that helps bring these people together in a way that we hope will benefit the entire community. We don’t remove business listings from our site unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. the business closed), as we want to be a complete source of information to the community.
Even if we removed a listing, it still is possible that a customer might want to write a review on BoaterRated.com about your business. It is easy enough for them to add the business and post the review, and as long as it’s consistent with our terms of service we will post it as the objective forum we are. I would venture that since a listing doesn’t cost anything, should a review that isn’t what you’d like to see out there be posted, you engage the reviewer and use the feedback to your advantage. Should reviews that put you on a pedestal appear, you can point potential customers in the BoaterRated direction as an objective source of your business’s accolades.
Nobody likes negative reviews. Positive testimonials are a proven tool to generate new business. Objectivity affects either’s impact. The opportunity to claim a business on BoaterRated (at no cost) provides the advantage of notification when a review is posted. We ran across an article on a social commerce website that offers a case study of different ways to handle reviews that may be of interest.
The fact of the matter is that people ARE talking about your business, BoaterRated merely provides an opportunity for you to hear that conversation and use the knowledge to your and your customer’s advantage.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to working with you to enhance both our businesses.