How many millions of transactions are happening each day? Whether I’m looking to buy something from a local retailer, or an online retailer, or an individual on Craig’s List — I’d like to know the experiences that others have had in dealings with whomever I’m about to buy something from. And I don’t want to read just text comments — I want to hear or see actual people that have had dealings with a particular business/product/person.
This idea would be primarily web-based — a user would find a product/business/person that they have had dealings with and then either write a text comment, leave a video comment (via webcam on the site itself; or by emailing/uploading a video comment), or leave an audio comment… (via an audio-recording Flash widget on the site itself; or by our VXML automated application auto-calling the user) .
Another option would be allowing businesses to sign-up for this service and easily input the phone number of a customer that just did business with them; our system then calls the user to get the user’s feedback on the transaction. Once again, the business could do their own audio reply to whatever the customer says. At the end of the day, the comments go back to an actual person — so if someone said something nasty about a company, a listener could see what other things that person has said about other companies.. if they were all positive with other companies, then the listener would know this person really did have a bad experience.
eBay has their own rating system — which I definitely find highly reliable, but what about all the non-eBay transactions in this world? RapLeaf started an external ratings system online — and was hoping their service would be allowed into the closed world of eBay, but eBay bans their sellers from posting anything RapLeaf-related. Then there’s sites like eBay-owned Epinions or start-up Bazaarvoice, which allow you to typically comment/rate a product — and then there’s services like Insider Pages or Judy’s Book that allow you to comment on businesses typically in the yellow pages.
But all of these services are text comments and ratings — I’d like to hear a voice of a real person telling me about their experience with a retailer or product; or even better, see a video of the person telling me about their experiences. I’d then like to see how many people agree with that person — or that truly vouch for that person, because they trust them.
I’d be able to input the email address, and/or phone number, and/or address, and/or IM, and/or URL of what business/product/person I’m rating. All the ratings/reviews would be saved — and the person/business that was rated, can give their reply to something said about them.
I think I would tie this idea into a bit of a social network — something needs to make this idea spread. As a user of the service myself, I might call in or make a quick video only if I knew someone might actually see/hear it. Thus, if I was able to do rants and raves about businesses/persons/products/places/services — and then embed something on my blog/myspace/etc that allowed others to quickly see things I love and hate … I might be interested in using this, because of the utility — I don’t care if no one ever sees my opinions via this web service’s website, but as long as I can add a widget on my own website … I’ll likely use it.
Thoughts? Is this practical? How would it gain users? Would you use it?