TurnTo Networks enters review syndication with ‘first open network’
Its Open Review Syndication network is designed to lower the barriers for brands to distribute user reviews on their sites to retailer sites.
TurnTo Networks, which provides customer content solutions, is today announcing what it says is the “first truly open network for syndication for product reviews and ratings.”
Customers frequently leave product reviews on brand sites, such as an assessment of a Casio camera by a recent buyer. Brands, such as Casio, want those reviews disseminated to retailers’ sites, such as Best Buy’s, where the Casio reviews are labeled to distinguish them from ones left by visitors to Best Buy.
Here, for example, is a review on Bose’s site, and then the same review syndicated — and labeled — on a retailer’s site:
But, TurnTo CEO George Eberstadt told me, the software providers that enable commenting and reviews on a brand’s site often restrict dissemination of those reviews to retailers’ sites using the same software, or they require a specific agreement for exchanging content. Additionally, he said, hefty fees are frequently charged by that software provider for “network access.”
TurnTo saw this as an opportunity, and today’s launch of its Open Review Syndication is its entry into review syndication.
Its spider can crawl any site containing reviews, a task Eberstadt said is somewhat complicated by the fact that the different review elements — such as star ratings — need to be semantically tagged and redisplayed accurately. Additionally, the review must be delivered to the right model of the product.
TurnTo’s new network can also get a brand’s reviews via a feed, such as an application programming interface (API).
While the New York City-based TurnTo also charges a fee, Eberstadt said it is a much smaller service fee that doesn’t discourage participation. TurnTo’s network can pick up reviews from any brand site, even if the brand is using home-brewed software, and then export them to a retailer’s site, where display is up to the retailer.
The process, TurnTo said, takes a day or two, and retailers receive reports and can moderate which reviews to display. The company points to the retailer CPO Commerce, which sells power tools from various brands. Because many of the brands it carries use review software different from its own, CPO was unable to show reviews from many of the brand sites. Of the 75 brands it carried, it only showed reviews from 16. TurnTo said that CPO has now increased that number to 33 brands and has increased by 250 percent the number of reviews displayed.
TurnTo uses content parsing, IP identification and other techniques to weed out fake reviews. In addition to this new syndication network, the company also provides software for ratings, reviews, communities and comments.