A great way to find local businesses online is through local business directories that provide listings with ratings and reviews. Ratings and reviews can help separate great businesses from those that are simply good or downright terrible. But, the key question that we all need to ask is, who controls the online profile in the directory?
Business, Customer, or the Community?
Most local directory sites ultimately cater to either the consumer or the business. But, if it’s the business that controls the content, how can customers trust the reviews? If everything is controlled by customers, how can businesses feel protected from spiteful customers and dishonest competitors?
At wikiDOMO, we make money from rendering services to businesses. Therefore, there’s a huge chance for perceived and real conflict of interest. But, our listings are not controlled by the businesses. We are a wiki. Therefore, like Wikipedia, the content is controlled by the community. Businesses and customers alike can contribute and help manage the business listings.
Business Feedback: “I want that review removed”
We have done a number of test pilots and the outcome has been a little surprising. We had businesses call us to say; “I want that review removed.” - Our answer was always; “No, but feel free to engage your customer.” Now for the surprising responses: “But other sites let me delete the reviews that I don’t like.” wikiDOMO doesn’t and we think that makes a big difference.
Trust and Reputation
How important is this? At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But, as more and more customers look to the internet for information about local businesses this will become critical. Trust and reputation have always been important. Moving forward these will be even more important. Now, just about anyone can voice their opinion about anything. These voices must be moderated, not just by one side or the other, but by the community at large.
If you already have a place (business) profile on wikiDOMO, be sure to help manage it. If you’re a customer of local businesses in your community, help contribute to their profiles and reputations. Everyone benefits and more importantly, everyone is providing a balanced measure of control.
Not only are the wikiDOMO business profiles controlled by the community, they’re also provided to the community for reuse through Creative Commons licensing. We’ll soon be announcing our API (currently in testing) that will provide free access to all of our business listings.
Let us know what you think. We would love to hear your thoughts about wikis, business listings and wikiDOMO.com.