Bazaarvoice and TurnTo Networks, both operators of platforms enabling consumer-generated content for retailers, have announced a partnership allowing TurnTo’s brand clients the opportunity to syndicate their ratings and reviews into the Bazaarvoice Retailer Network, which includes more than 5,000 retail and brand websites.
The companies said their agreement expands Bazaarvoice’s ability to import authentic consumer-generated content (CGC) for its retail clients, while providing TurnTo an additional syndication solution for its brands. Those brands will be able further enhance content distribution via the Bazaarvoice Retailer Network by entering into a separate agreement with Bazaarvoice for syndication.
The participating brands’ content will go through Bazaarvoice’s authenticity and moderation processes to ensure quality.
Consumer-generated content has faced a rocky path to become a widely-used, trusted and mature marketing tool. It has been seen as increasingly important for retailers to have in an era of heavy social network influence and increasingly personalized shopping experiences where reviews and ratings by like-minded consumers may be taken very seriously.
However, incentivized product reviews and frequent product reviews from unverified sources have been a problem for Amazon and others, and such untrusted or unsavory-seeming reviews can be the bane of the Internet and represent the worst of a a culture conditioned on hot-takes and trolling. These companies, and Bazaarvoice in particular, have come out in favor of high-quality, verified consumer-generated content, and are trying to give retailers some sense of comfort as they look to enable user reviews, photos, product ratings and similar forms of commenting on their sites.
One other thing worth noting about this partnership is that Bazaarvoice and TurnTo Networks previously have been viewed as competitors. Perhaps as waves of untrustworthy consumer-generated content pile up on websites, these two companies are taking a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em attitude." Together, they are spreading the notion that it's time for retailers to care about user-generated content, and to learn how to tell the difference between valuable user-generated content and other content clearly running on its own agenda.