Issue: consumer review web site launch
Monitoring what consumers say about your client or company on the
internet has become a real challenge - and here’s just one more site to
add to the dozens that you should be keeping an eye on, on a regular
Ciao.com, whose PR agency is dot.com specialist Mantra, has been set up
as an independent pool of consumer reviews of products and services.
Ciao is tempting consumers to submit reviews during the launch by
offering 50p for each one written and 10p every time the review is
The site was set up in Germany, and is now established in France, Italy,
Austria and Spain, as well as the UK. It allows reviews and useful
information to be submitted and read on a wide range of areas.
So far these include cities, cars, films, books, TV and radio,
universities and courses, airlines, games and computers, mobile phones
and phone companies, cameras, other internet sites, and sports, and this
list will be expanded.
Users of the site can suggest other categories.
Writers are asked to write their views carefully, and within a number of
parameters, such as trying to be as interesting and comprehensive as
possible, highlighting all the positive and negative aspects of the
subject of their review.
They are asked to give a star rating, and when more than one review has
been written on the same subject, these are averaged out. After reading
an opinion, users also have the option of rating its helpfulness.
Ciao is not just another chat room - it’s about freedom of opinion, but
it is well-structured. The aim is for quality opinion, and submissions
are screened for obscenity and legal problems. The site has been
welcomed by the UK’s most famous consumer champion, the Consumers’
The original German site, launched last November, has logged 350,000
opinions, with the most-read subjects being cars, homes and gardens.
The UK arm of the site is headed by ex-PA Consulting management
consultant Tom Cadogan, and is being funded by Index Ventures and Apax
Partners, the venture capital firm which backed Chris Evans’ buy-out of
Consumers being paid to whinge could make PR people in the areas covered
by the site shudder, but there are also positive reviews. It’s worth
adding to your list of favourite sites if you want to stay ahead of what
consumers are saying