With little fanfare, eBay
Last week, I posted a review of one of the three top-selling CDs singled out in the area. Yet despite the area's beta launch two weeks ago, I remain one of just four members to lend an opinion on The Killers' Hot Fuss. The problem? When I searched for copies of the CD for sale, the reviews weren't integrated into the auction pages. Review pages on a site like Amazon.com
Transforming user reviews into site content is obviously a spectacular concept. Similar to how Tom Sawyer tricked folks into painting the fence, letting your community create the content that may bring in more visitors as the pages are disseminated through search engines is genius. This is a very good move by eBay, even if we are just a couple of weeks into the beta testing process, and even if there are some bugs remaining to be worked out.
It's also another case of eBay trying to legitimize itself as a traditional retailer. Once a pure consumer-to-consumer auction site to hawk old junk, the company has focused its latest marketing campaigns on new (or nearly new) popular items that can be found on the site. The television ads and print catalogs in particular have tried to drive that emphasis home, while the "Buy It Now" option has helped buyers approach eBay as if it were a bona fide online retailer like Amazon or Overstock.com
Like Amazon, eBay has more than doubled in value since being recommended in the Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter three years ago. Clearly, those companies are doing something right. Netflix
Testimonials have always been an effective form of advertising. Even though I had my doubts when I saw Amazon.com try this years ago, fearing that negative reviews would dissuade sales, my initial instinct was wrong. Bad reviews only solidify a site's sincerity. That creates customer dependability to the point where visitors feel that they don't have to surf elsewhere to confirm their purchases. So the question isn't whether this move will work for eBay. It will. The question to ask is why eBay took so long to get here.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a satisfied eBay user -- with the 150 positive feedback recs to show for it. He does own shares of Netflix. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.