September 27th, 2011

Toshiba, Sharp Electronics UK, Breville, PC Advisor and Macworld also support Reevoo’s campaign, which is welcomed by Government

Some of Europe’s best known retailers and brands have pledged their support for a new ‘trusted reviews’ manifesto launched today by Reevoo, Europe’s leading social commerce company. The aim of the manifesto is to protect consumers and Reevoo’s partners from the kind of allegations made against some other review-using sites in the last two years – allegations that have included suggestions of fake reviews, paid-for reviews and even the selective display of only good reviews.

Reevoo’s manifesto sets out the core values of the Reevoo Mark™, the symbol that reassures customers they can trust consumer reviews on the websites of all Reevoo’s partner brands and retailers. Among the six promises in the manifesto are explicit guarantees that all reviews provided by Reevoo are genuine, come from verified purchasers of that product, include both good and bad reviews, and are not paid-for.

Richard Anson, co-founder and CEO of Reevoo, said: “We have two aims for the manifesto we’re announcing today. The first is to help consumers, because we’re worried that their confidence in consumer reviews could be shaken by allegations of fake, paid-for and cherry-picked reviews. It’s all very well telling people they can trust Reevoo reviews; the manifesto makes it totally clear why they can trust our reviews. Reviews are immensely influential, with 81% of online shoppers claiming they use reviews to decide what to buy and therefore this manifesto is vitally important for consumer protection.

“The second aim is to shield our partners from any possible damage caused to the credibility of reviews by suggestions of sharp practice. If people stop trusting the reviews on any given site because they’re unsure whether they’re legitimate or not, then there is an inevitable and consequent loss of consumer trust in the brand or retailer itself - and none of us are prepared to allow that to happen. Together with our partners, we want to be very clear about what shoppers can expect when they see the Reevoo Mark; the manifesto will properly insulate our partners from any sort of ‘damage-by-association’.

“The manifesto is also, of course, fully compliant with the letter and spirit of the ASA’s recent new guidelines that cover the use of user-generated-content on websites,” he added.

The Government’s desire for a self-regulating quality mark for consumer reviews was described in its consumer empowerment strategy document ‘Better Choices: Better Deals - Consumers Powering Growth’, which was published by the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation and announced by Consumer Minister Edward Davey in April. The Minister said: “In the Government’s consumer empowerment strategy, Better Choices, Better Deals, we highlighted the importance of feedback and review schemes. Where the methods used in publishing reviews are robust, transparent and trustworthy they help consumers make decisions, and this in turn leads to businesses improving their goods and services. I therefore welcome this initiative by Reevoo, as informed consumers play a key part in a competitive and fair economy.”

There have been a number of allegations regarding bad practice in the field of user-generated-content. These include the well-publicised allegations against a well-known hotel recommendation site that unverified purchasers were leaving reviews; allegations of payment for reviews and allegations of fake reviews or cherrypicking and only showing good reviews. Online shoppers are clearly aware of these incidents: research by Reevoo in January 2011* suggested that 38% of online shoppers are unsure who writes reviews and whether they can be trusted; 35% expressed concern that positive reviews are paid for; and 30% worry that only good reviews are shown.

Nicolas Fidry, Head of Acquisition at Sony Europe, said: “Product reviews are an established and integral part of Sony's customer engagement strategy, delivering user-generated content both for Sony sites and into other social spheres. It’s vital that our customers’ faith in that content - and, by association, in Sony - can never be compromised in any way, and this protection is what Reevoo Mark provides. Together, Reevoo’s manifesto and the Reevoo Mark will help to ensure that our customers know exactly what we, and Reevoo, mean when we say that all our reviews are 100% genuine.”

Esther Soto, Head of eCommerce Strategy and Planning for Dixons Retail, said: “It is very important for us to give our customers confidence that they are making the best choice when purchasing technology and services with us across all our brands and channels. We were one of the first retailers to partner with Reevoo in the UK because we value the quality and impartiality of their reviews. We know that our customers value the honest, impartial and transparent perspective that our colleagues and the Reevoo Mark provide and so we fully support Reevoo’s initiative”.

Andrew Winton, Head of Sales at Everything Everywhere, said “It’s very important for us to provide honest, impartial information on the products and services we sell; this gives our customers the confidence that we are being open and transparent with them. In a world where online reviews and recommendations are available almost everywhere we need to make sure that what we offer online stands out as being as trusted as a loyal friends’ insights would be. By using Reevoo, who offer an honest and credible perspective, we are able to fulfil this promise to our customers and support their purchasing decisions”.

Matt Kelleher, Multi-Channel and Services Director at Best Buy UK, said: "When Reevoo told us they were launching the Reevoo Mark and that it sets out to protect and give confidence to consumers and retailers about online reviews, we knew we wanted to be a part of it. We want our customers to be able to trust the huge variety of information and content on our website and have confidence when they are deciding to invest their money in new technology. The Manifesto and Reevoo Mark will help Best Buy to provide our customers with even more genuine, transparent and impartial advice and service."

Sean Emmett, from photographic retailer Jessops, said: “For reviews to have any value to our customers, they need to be perceived as independent and trusted; if our customers don't feel that, they're not going to attach any value to it and, for us, that's a wasted opportunity. Reevoo has established itself as providing independent and trusted reviews that our customers can trust and so for products where a Reevoo review is read we experience a much higher level of conversion.”

Notes to editors

Reevoo currently boasts more than 140 retailer and brand partners, many of who have already pledged their support for Reevoo’s manifesto. Among those to back the campaign are: A1 stores, Advanced MP3 Players, Ask Electronics Ltd., Audiovisualonline.co.uk, Breville, Best Buy UK, Chase AV Direct, Currys, Dixons.co.uk, Future Publishing, GetItNow.gr, HiFix, Infinity, Jessops, Macworld, Office Magic, Online Courses Australia, PC Advisor, PCWorld, PetVillas, Purelygadgets.co.uk, RDO Kitchen Appliances, Sharp Electronics UK, Simply Electronics, Snug Mattress, Sony, The Kitchen Appliance Store, The Plasma Centre, Toshiba, Whitebox, 3pins.com. The full list of partners is available online. All partners using the Reevoo Mark on their site are, in any case, covered by Reevoo’s manifesto guarantees.

The manifesto states that consumers can trust Reevoo reviews because, together with their partners, Reevoo will always strive to ensure that:

1. All of our reviews are from genuine, verified purchasers.
2. No fake reviews ever make it in.
3. We show the good with the bad. We do not tolerate anyone editing or removing negative reviews or showing only the reviews they like.
4. Our reviews cannot be manipulated.
5. We are always transparent: where a response is from a brand or retailer this will be crystal clear.
6. Our reviews remain impartial and independent.

YouGov 2010 research found that 81% of online shoppers use customer reviews in their decision making process.

*Research figures quoted refer to a survey conducted by Reevoo in January 2011 among a sample of 736 Reevoo Plus users.

About Reevoo

Reevoo (http://b2b.reevoo.com) is Europe’s leading provider of social commerce solutions. Reevoo has been deployed by more than 140 major brands including Sony, Best Buy, Tesco and Dixons helping them to achieve average sales uplifts of 18% through boosted conversion rates and increased order values, turning browsers into shoppers.

Reevoo has solicited more than 2.5 million pieces of independent, impartial social content from genuine customers. To help consumers make their purchase decision, Reevoo provides easy access to this content more than half a billion times every month to shoppers across the Reevoo network.

Reevoo’s consumer website (http://www.reevoo.com) also presents shoppers with everything they need to decide what to buy, including impartial customer reviews, price comparison, expert advice, product information and voucher deals.

Contacts

Both Barrels Communications Ltd (for Reevoo)
Tim Donnelly Smith
+44 7978 800275
timds@bbcomms.co.uk

Reevoo
Mireia Fontbernat
mireiafontbernat@reevoo.com

Published on: 10:15AM on 23rd January 2012