Kalena Jordan writes a blog about her concern over an SEM rating site called SEMCompare. She tells us that the Search Marketing Standard magazine has started this site to allow people to write reviews about the search marketing agencies they've worked on, whether it's positive or negative.
After doing an interview with one of the people behind the site, she was alarmed by a comment from said individual: "At the end of the day we can’t really endorse or condone reviews on the site.” Does it make sense to create a site if you can't vouch for its content?
The discussion moves over to Sphinn where sentiment is similar. Here are some reactions:
U gotta be kidding me right? So I can hire a gang of offshore monkeys to go by (spoofed IPs) and whack attack all the competition? I Love It.....
One of my concerns, which you didn't mention, was whether SEM/SEO firms would be able to buy their way to the top or to good reviews? To me, the site looks like one of those kind.
Finally, another valid point:
Another concern that I have that I don't think has been discussed is the conflict of interest in asking a client to review your agency and knowing that SEMCompare exists.
A positive review is great, but exposure to your compeitiion is not so.
Boris Mordkovich of SEMCompare responds to these concerns and says that the concept arose from several inquiries about SEM agency recommendations. They created a site driven by user generated content to do this. There are some safeguards they've put in place, including contacting people whose reviews don't match up. This should prevent the system from being abused. Users need to have a valid email and website and if their reviews are specious, the SEMCompare staff will ask the user directly.
Does it have promise? Perhaps. I still think that the service can be easily gamed. Also, it's interesting that a lot of marketing companies I haven't heard of have a solid 5.0 score whereas the more known companies have lower scores (between 1.7 and 4.9). Something about that just doesn't feel right.
The ongoing discussion (oh yes, there's a lot more) continues on Sphinn.