Selling by word of mouth ... but through the web

Review sites and their ratings have always added impetus to the brand images of various businesses.

By (Sajila Saseendran)

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Published: Mon 29 Nov 2010, 8:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:13 PM

A new age review-based social networking site has introduced an advertising concept that thrives on feedback from consumers in Dubai.

Jean-Michel Gauthier, managing partner of, hopes to take the online advertisement platform to new levels by bringing in an element of ‘transparency’ to the whole affair.

“As opposed to other review sites, we are attempting to offer a new revolutionary kind of advertising platform. We want to promote a much more personal relationship between entities, which are any kind of service oriented businesses, and their customers,” said Gauthier.

To achieve this, the site will be using the most powerful and credible form of advertising, word of mouth reviews based on the real life experiences of the actual consumers and end users.

“If I see a business advertising through a billboard, I know they have paid for it and that they’ve crafted the advert for their own self-promotion.

However, if a friend of mine comes and tells me something positive about that particular entity, I am going to hold that much dearer to myself. This will be the case for most of us,” said Gauthier. So, instead of static ads with flashy images and nice promotional wordings, fabricating which costs heavily, firms featured on can get marketing advantage through the good words shared by satisfied customers.“You may be able to buy celebrity endorsements, but you cannot buy people’s opinion. Having your satisfied customers write up their experiences is going to be something invaluable for businesses here,” said Gauthier.

However, the website’s ideology of ‘radiating transparency’ does not guarantee that customers will always share good words about businesses. But such honest feedback, according to Gauthier, is something that businesses should take as constructive criticism which will ultimately help in improving their services. The fact that entities can respond to their customers through the review site, which thereby assumes the role of a social networking site as well, gives an opportunity for clarifying misconceptions and clearing mistakes.

Nevertheless, the administrating team has the rights to filter rude, crude or lewd comments. Getting reviewed by customers and responding to them are not the only plus factors for entities. They can add their firms for free and get them star-rated as well. Companies reviewed or rated can also claim their businesses by providing their ownership documents to the team. Both customers and entities, who can register their names for free, will also get an additional benefit through a unique feature offered by the site.

For every review posted, rating offered, business claimed, they get points that will offer special rewards in the form of gifts and discounts.

“I don’t think there is any other review site that offers such point based rewards,” noted Gauthier who believes that the rewards would attract more consumers to post reviews on the site. In the case of entities, those who can initially make the most use of the site would be the small-scale businesses. “They may not have the same marketing budgets like the corporate giants.

They really do bank on things like word of mouth (for publicity). Getting good reviews on our website will be of paramount importance to them. There’s a huge financial benefit for the small businesses,” he pointed out.

Price rating, location maps, provisions for uploading pictures and so on are other highlights beneficial for all parties involved. With a host of additional features scheduled to be added,, which is up and running since November 15, promises to become a brand in itself.

“With the features that encourage personal relationship and correspondence between the entity and the customers, and by offering the star rating

system, we eventually want to develop our own brand and hopefully, businesses can one day brag about being featured on,” said Gauthier. —

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