There has been a discussion about a site that provides ratings on various SEO and paid search companies through a website called SEMCompare. This website allows the public to provide feedback on services of search engine management companies by writing the pros and cons of working with these companies.
Actually I have mixed reactions for this service. At one end I would like to recommend the best ones by highlighting their achievements and recommending their services. In this way, the public will be notified who are those who are best in the industry and those who produce low-quality work and waste customer money by identifying them through the reviews within the site. There has been a thorough discussion about companies that don’t live up to expectations and unless a proper platform for everyone to see, business owners have to rely on forums or recommendations from friends to determine which SEM vendor to choose. Let the business be run by competitive ones for the benefit of website owners.
At the same time, I am not sure if this will work or simply backfire. In the review form, it is very easy to let everyone make a mockery of a company not only because it does not ask for personal information that will verify someone’s association with the company, but also it is accessible to everyone. We can pick a company name, tick the services they actually provide and shoot the praises and rants about the company in a flash. I am not sure if only one review is allowed for every e-mail address to limit the review because it’s possible to work with multiple vendors at different periods of time.
What about a competing company commissioning certain people who actually do such job for a living, to make negative ratings about an unsuspecting competitor? What will SEMCompare do with the future boatload of information in its hands? It could be a goldmine for SEM companies to look into in the future.
Not a valid e-mail or contacting the review makers will guarantee that this system is fool proof. In fact I don’t think there is one. In an industry that has no formal standards set up, this initiative has good intentions but unfortunately the system can easily be gamed. While I see the promise of doing this, I am not too excited of its future prospects unless a workaround of the possible what-ifs will be addressed.