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Summary:

The Danish firm has been building a platform for consumers to review independent online retailers. Now it wants to break America. But does Trustpilot need to work hard on improving its own visibility, or just syndicate its reviews to Google?

Peter Mühlmann, Trustpilot

Two of the web’s biggest etailers — Amazon and eBay — have in-built merchant review systems. Even high-street businesses have equivalents, like Yelp and Google, and products themselves are well reviewed online.

But, as more and more consumer commerce is carried out online through etailers that operate independently, how can customers gauge sellers’ trustworthiness?

That is a problem Denmark-based Trustpilot has been trying to crack in Europe since it was founded in 2007. And now it is taking on a further €10 million ($13 million) to fund entry to the United States (announcement).

The money comes from Index Ventures, which is joining previous  backers SEED Capital Denmark and Northzone, which gave €4.5 million a year ago and which think Trustpilot’s method of letting buyers rate and review merchants will be big. CEO Peter Mühlmann writes that he wants to double staff from over 100 in the next year.

Trustpilot says: “The benefit for businesses using Trustpilot is that they can backtrack each customer review to the transaction on which the review is based. This helps businesses pinpoint where and how to improve customer satisfaction.”

But, as it tries to unlock the large US market, the outfit may nevertheless still face challenges at home. Despite operating in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands and Italy, I have never heard of it; it simply would not have occurred to me to use it to find trustworthy sellers.

That means it is starting from a lower base in the States. But Trustpilot also supplies reviews to Google product search pages — a place where people are more likely to see them.

But Trustpilot claims merchants who display its reviews on their site can increase purchase conversions by 20 percent. Its focus on providing value to businesses through highlighting positive reviews seems to take second place to providing a service to consumers.

The service claims to have garnered over six million reviews of over 100,000 merchants.

  1. am looking into using Trust Pilot because Google requires you to have reviews from a third party site or Google shopping, in order to show customer reviews next to your ads. Fake reviews can obviously be generated by placing fake orders. As a small business owner, I don’t have the time to place hundreds of fake orders and then refund all of them to myself later. The fact is that most will be generated by real customers as emails are sent and responded too. A percentage will be fake. I’m more upset by the fact that I have to pay a company to do this for Google to accept the reviews. My hosting company can already do this, but Google will not accept these reviews. Google is favoring companies that have the extra cash flow to spend on a review service. Google’s actions concerning reviews, Google shopping is no longer free, and they allow larger competitors to list multiple ads that show the same product with different URLs like http://islandloans.co.uk/

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