What’s good for the small-business owner is good for the consumer
By Aaron Lee, cofounder, Redbeacon
Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the problems of promotion on user-review sites. These sites have come under heavy fire, so I’ve been reassessing what sets Redbeacon’s review process apart — in a beneficial way — from other sites in the local space. There are two parts to the criticism of user-review sites: first, that these sites are increasingly difficult for small businesses to support, and second, that the reviews can be manipulated.
Let’s start with the small businesses. Sure, the cost of advertising on a review site is prohibitive, but that’s not really the problem. Particularly for the small-business owner, paying hard-earned dollars for advertising on a site where they don’t get to control any of the messaging is alienating to say the least. A completed Redbeacon profile is free SEO for that pro, but unlike other local review sites, our pros build the messaging for their profiles. At Redbeacon, we want to support the small business owners who are our lifeblood — without the independent handyman or the plumber, there would be no Redbeacon.
The Redbeacon business model is this: You can’t buy CPM or CPC advertising to promote your business on Redbeacon. The payments that we take from our pros are entirely pay-for-performance; they only pay us if they win and complete a job or visit onsite when they have to give an estimate. In this way, everything we do is to make our service wholly pro-friendly, and no amount of advertising dollars can artificially boost one pro over another in our system. We don’t sell advertising, and we don’t promote individual pros based on any amount of money they pay for their Redbeacon commissions.
The reviews on our site, however, are as honest and as transparent as they come — we want our consumers to be as educated as possible to the strengths and experiences of each pro who works with us. Redbeacon reviews are never bought, and they can only be submitted by consumers who have used that particular pro’s service for a job. The reviews are the one thing a pro cannot control in his or her Redbeacon profile, which not only encourages each pro to finish a job that earns a good review, but it also ensures to our customer that no five-star Redbeacon review has been purchased.
You can’t hide from a bad review on Redbeacon, nor should you be able to. The Redbeacon model takes the best of review sites and the functionality of a small-business owner’s own personal website — all to give our consumers the best possible experience. And I think we accomplish this better than our comrades in the local space.