Customer reviews can be crucial to a small business, especially in a climate where consumers are trying to make smarter decisions about their purchases. It’s no surprise then that review sites such as Yelp, Local and Mahalo have flourished over the last few years.
RatePoint is the latest to attempt to cash in on the trend, having secured more than $20 million in funding since it launched in 2006. Recently the Needham, Massachusetts-based site got another $7-million from three local venture capital firms: Prism Venture Works, .406 Ventures and Castile Ventures.
Neal Creighton, RatePoint’s co-founder and CEO, insisted his company is not just another Yelp, noting RatePoint’s reviews come from actual customers and not just a community of reviewers that may have no connection to the company. It’s a subtle, but important distinction, said Creighton.
“There are a lot of emotional reviews on Yelp, where people had a bad experience, but they didn’t interact with the business,” he said, adding if a business gets a bad review on RatePoint, it’s encouraged to have a dialogue with the offended customer to try to work things out. “In our system when they have a chance to interact with the business, they feel completely different; you get a better and real picture of that business.”
Yelp is the current leader of review sites, attracting more than 30 million visitors a month and logging more than 12 million reviews since launching in 2004.