This post continues the weekly series of website reviews. My last review of FatWallet and their Store Ratings page tipped me to the next website I wanted to review, that is ResellerRatings. It is currently number 10 in my popular bargain hunting sites list and has been holding this position for a few months now.
The two previous websites I reviewed, FatWallet and SlickDeals, attract visitors with their busy Hot Deals forums. ResellerRatings operates in a different market niche.
I think I will not break news by saying that ResellerRatings biggest asset is the huge number of store reviews they amassed over the 8 years they have been in the business. This is what they are known for and this is why many shoppers keep coming back to them. The feature proved to be so useful that one of the users developed a FireFox plugin which adds an item to the right-click menu that will open a review page for the merchant you are browsing.
ResellerRatings do not just collect and display merchant reviews, they offer a number solutions for merchants to help them better understand what their customers think about them. Have you ever seen those customer feedback surveys that pop up after you make a purchase? That is how ResellerRatings collect the information that they then sell back to the merchants.
Merchants holding a Premium Account ($59 a month as of writing this) gain extra powers. ResellerRatings will notify them about a negative review which in turn may prompt the merchant to settle the dispute and have the customer correct the review. A lesson for us? It does pay to complain in open, the merchants are more willing to correct the problem. Some even pay to be able to do it faster!
Ratings are skewed
I tend to think that merchants that don’t solicit their customers with feedback surveys happen to get lower ratings. It is in human nature to come to places like ResellerRatings only when in trouble. Here is for example CompUSA rating:
Could this really be the case that only 1 out of 10 customers were happy with their shopping experience in the past 6 months? I very doubt so. You will find a similar picture for Circuit City and Best Buy. On the other hand, MeritLine has a 9 out of 10 rating, just as do many of the other premium ResellerRatings merchants.
ResellerRatings has a Shopping.com powered comparison engine integrated with their in-house store ratings and merchandise reviews from Epinions. It is nothing special and I would suggest you to take a look at other alternatives if comparing prices is what you are looking for.
The Hot Deals section is clearly underdeveloped. Not surprisingly it is listed the last in the main menu. One thing worth mentioning. Late last year ResellerRatings launched a deals aggregator which I reviewed in December. I don’t quite understand why they did it. I would rather spend the time and effort improving the current Hot Deals section instead.
ResellerRatings is a great resource for merchant reviews. I can only think of one other place that may challenge them by the number of reviews, and that is Epinions. Be aware though that merchants who do not solicit ResellerRatings customer feedback surveys at checkout often have their rating skewed.
If you came to ResellerRatings looking for hot shopping deals, don’t waste your time, there is plenty of other sources with many of them offering larger number of deals and better user interface.