Trustpilot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Trustpilot
Trustpilot logo.png
Type of site
Public
Traded asLSETRST
Founded2007; 14 years ago (2007)
Headquarters
Area servedNorth America, Europe
Founder(s)Peter Holten Mühlmann
Key peopleTimothy Weller (Chairman)
Peter Mühlmann (CEO)
Hanno Damm (CFO)
RevenueIncrease $102.0 million (2020)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease $(9.4) million (2020)[1]
Net incomeIncrease $(12.3) million (2020)[1]
URLwww.trustpilot.com

Trustpilot.com is a Danish consumer review website founded in Denmark in 2007 which hosts reviews of businesses worldwide. Nearly 1 million new reviews are posted each month.[2] The site offers freemium services to businesses.[3] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

History[edit]

Trustpilot was founded by the company’s current CEO, Peter Holten Mühlmann, in Denmark in 2007.[4] He started the company when his parents started shopping online. At the time, he was studying at Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences and would later leave university to pursue Trustpilot.[5]

After raising $3 million in early venture funding from 2008 to 2010, Trustpilot received an initial capital injection from SEED Capital Denmark and Northzone in November 2011.[6] One year later, Index Ventures, SEED Capital Denmark and Northzone invested $13 million in Series B funding in Trustpilot, which the company used for international growth.[7]

In 2013, Trustpilot opened offices in New York and London. In the same year, the company was named Danish Startup of the Year at Next Web’s European Startup Awards.[8] In 2014, Draper Esprit (formerly known as DFJ Esprit) invested $25 million in Trustpilot, along with support from the existing investors.[9] According to VentureBeat, the Series C funding round would help Trustpilot “bring its online retail reviews service to the U.S.”[10] At the end of 2014, Trustpilot employed 325 people and 400,000 new reviews were posted each month.[11] According to Website Magazine, “Trustpilot soared in 2014,” and experienced “record growth with an 80 percent year-over-year increase in revenue.[12]

In May 2015, Trustpilot received $73.5 million in Series D funding. The investment was led by Vitruvian Partners, with contributions from all existing investors.[13] In March, 2015, Google announced it was launching product ratings in Germany, the UK and France. In order to do this, “Google is aggregating data in Europe from different sources” including third party aggregators like Trustpilot.[14]

In February 2021, a private individual, Philip Waymouth, was ordered to pay £25,000 in libel damages after posting a negative review on TrustPilot's website. He had said in the post that Summerfield Browne of London was "another scam solicitor". The court found that Waymouth had not filed a complaint with the firm before posting. He said that he suggested that if Summerfield Brown refunded their fee, he would delete the post, but he said they did not respond.[15]

In March 2021, Trustpilot listed on the London Stock Exchange. The founders stated that London’s stock market looked more attractive after a government-backed review called for an overhaul of the U.K. listings regime.[16]

Products and activities[edit]

Anyone can post a review on Trustpilot. User account creation requires an email address or Facebook account. The company lets businesses collect and respond to reviews for free and offers specialized marketing and analytics features in their paid plans. It generates income from subscribing companies who use its software to be reviewed by customers and gain business acumen from reviews.[17][18][19] Trustpilot has a licensing agreement with Google, allowing Trustpilot reviews to be listed as Google Seller Ratings, or “Google Stars.”[20] It employs about 700 people and roughly 1,000,000 new reviews are posted each month.[2] It has published 50 million reviews about more than 228,000 brands [21]

Business model[edit]

Trustpilot operates a freemium business model and earns most of its revenue from companies that subscribe to its services.[22]

Criticism[edit]

There are independent investigations that suggest that review websites such as Trustpilot may have fake reviews.[23][24][25] There is controversy about the legitimacy of some of Trustpilot's and other consumer review websites' reviews and the way that it deals with complaints about them, although Trustpilot claims that it strives to only include genuine reviews.[23][25][26][27][28] Trustpilot allows businesses to pay them to access its marketing services and use Trustpilot technology to filter reviews—normally selecting only favourable posts—that customers place on their own Web site or other places. This may violate certain laws or regulations.[29][26] Trustpilot published fake reviews for Bizzyloans; it deleted them after they were brought to light by KwikChex, an online investigations company.[30] Fake reviewers often steal the identities of real people to falsely build up reviewed companies' reputations. Trustpilot denies that it permits any known fraudulent reviews on its site.[31]

On 14 September 2017, Trustpilot issued an open letter clarifying its review policy following allegations concerning the 'validity of reviews of [online estate agent] Purplebricks by customers'.[32][33]

On 22 March 2019 The Times reported that estate agents Purplebricks and Foxtons are "gaming" Trustpilot feedback by paying it to help gain better scores. In August 2016 five reviews of Foxtons were published on Trustpilot, with an average score of 2.2 stars out of five. The following month there were 467 reviews, 90% of them awarding five stars.[29][34]

On 6 February 2020 industry publication Property Industry Eye reported that Trustpilot was looking into reviews of estate agents ‘at large’ after claims from property review website allAgents that 70% of their reviews could be fake.[35][36]

In May 2020, an episode of Joe Lycett's Got Your Back ran an experiment in which a fake company was created on Trustpilot, demonstrating the various ways of manipulating reviews on the site.[37] Trustpilot published an online response, noting the value of the show's experiment in highlighting fraud on the site, and promising to implement changes to tackle the problem better.[38]

Reporting reviews[edit]

Trustpilot reserves the right to remove reviews without any notice according to their policy. It insists that it always makes a bona fide effort to obey the law and its published policies to ensure that only authentic reviews remain on the website.[3]

Companies are allowed to respond publicly to reviews, or report a review as invalid if they believe it violates Trustpilot's user guidelines or they have no record of the reviewer as a customer. When a company reports a review, it is automatically replaced with a message indicating that it is being assessed. If the reviewer does not provide the requested information to Trustpilot (e.g. proof of purchase) within seven days, Trustpilot removes the review.[39]

Trustpilot may take "some time" to investigate a reported review, so even if after investigation the review is reinstated, if more reviews have been submitted to the company's satisfaction in the meantime, the reinstated review will be substantially less prominent than when it was first posted.[40]

Proof of purchase is not required to post a new review.[41] There is little incentive for a company to report positive reviews, even if not from customers, as invalid; companies will tend to report only unfavourable invalid reviews,[42] which is likely to skew reviews in favour of the company.[3]

Hiding negative reviews[edit]

Facebook plugin[edit]

Users of Trustpilot's Facebook plugin (for their Pro subscribers, paying $599 per month[43]) have the option to display only reviews giving a certain score: "Choose the number of reviews that you want to display from the drop-down menu, then select the rating that the displayed reviews will have".[44]

Trustbox feature[edit]

Paying Trustpilot subscribers using the "Trustbox" feature (which allows a website to show embedded Trustpilot reviews) can ensure only reviews with a minimum star rating will be displayed: there is a setting that "Displays the star ratings that you select, for example, all 3-, 4-, and 5-star reviews".[45]

Trustpilot concedes "[by using Trustboxes] you don't show consumers the full, accurate picture of all your customers' opinions".[46]

Trustpilot's own Plans & Pricing page shows the Trustbox in action, displaying reviews of their own platform, configured to display 4- and 5-star reviews only, beneath the slogan "Trustpilot is a universal symbol of trust".[47]

In 2020, the BBC reported that Trustpilot harbored more than 2 million fake reviews on its platform, that it had to ultimately remove.[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Prospectus" (PDF). Trustpilot. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b Ingham, Edmund. "48 Hours On The Copenhagen Startup Scene: Here's What I Learned". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  3. ^ a b c "Terms & Conditions". trustpilot.com. Trustpilot. Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  4. ^ "The 12 European tech startups that are most likely to be worth $1 billion next". Business Insider. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Trustpilot IPO: Why the reviews platform is all set to float". City Index. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Trustpilot Raises $4.5m To Scale Up Trust Ratings For Shopping". TechCrunch. 2011-11-01. Archived from the original on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  7. ^ "With Nearly 7M Reviews Of 100K Sites, Trustpilot Raises $13M From Index And More To Build Out A Yelp For The World Of E-Commerce". TechCrunch. 2012-12-11. Archived from the original on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  8. ^ Martin Bryant. "The Winners of The Next Web's European Startup Awards 2013". Thenextweb.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-31. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  9. ^ Ho, Geoff. "Cash allows Trustpilot to spread wings | City & Business | Finance | Daily Express". Express.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  10. ^ Christina Farr (2014-01-13). "TrustPilot nabs $25M to bring its online retail reviews service to the U.S. | VentureBeat | Business | by Christina Farr". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  11. ^ "Trustpilot the story so far". Archived from the original on 2015-10-06.
  12. ^ "Need Proof Reviews Matter? Trustpilot Soared in 2014". www.websitemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  13. ^ "Already a hit in Europe, Trustpilot gets $73.5M to become "the review site for the entire online world"". Pando. 2015-05-28. Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  14. ^ "Google Takes Its Amazon-Style Starred Product Ratings To Europe To Boost Shopping Searches". TechCrunch. 2015-03-26. Archived from the original on 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  15. ^ "Man to pay £25,000 damages over negative TrustPilot review". BBC News. 2021-02-09. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  16. ^ "Trustpilot surges in stock market debut as tech companies flock to London". CNBC. 2021-03-23. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
  17. ^ Kolodny, Lora. "Trustpilot Raises $73.5 Million for Credible Reviews of Businesses Online". wsj.com. Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  18. ^ "How to make Trustpilot work for your business". www.rstboilers.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  19. ^ "Trustpilot raises $55 million for online business reviews". VentureBeat. 2019-03-05. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-19. Retrieved 2017-02-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "2019 Most Innovative Companies". Fast Company. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  22. ^ Nandini Roy Choudhury (2019-03-06). "Consumer Review Platform Trustpilot raises $55 Million in Latest Round of Funding". The Guardian Tribune. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  23. ^ a b Smith, Mike Deri. "Fake reviews plague consumer websites". theguardian.com. The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  24. ^ Belton, Padraig. "Navigating the potentially murky world of online reviews". bbc.com. BBC. Archived from the original on 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  25. ^ a b Naylor, David. "Google how can you trust www.trustpilot.co.uk ?". davidnaylor.co.uk. David Naylor. Archived from the original on 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  26. ^ a b Barsby, Adam (19 June 2015). "Fake Online Reviews and Endorsements: Competition Regulator to Investigate Unlawful Practices". e-xanthos.co.uk. Xanthos. Archived from the original on 2015-10-06.
  27. ^ Haines, Lester. "Is iFlorist the greatest website in the universe, ever?". theregister.co.uk. The Register. Archived from the original on 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  28. ^ "iFlorist". bitterwallet.com. bitterwallet.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  29. ^ a b Graham Norwood (22 March 2019). "Purplebricks and Foxtons reviews on Trustpilot come under scrutiny". Estate Agent Today.
  30. ^ "KwikChex works with BBC to expose Review Fraud". kwikchex.com. 23 June 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-08-26.
  31. ^ "Fake online customer reviews 'for sale', BBC finds". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2015-06-21. Retrieved 2015-06-22.
  32. ^ "Open Letter in response to questions regarding Purplebricks and Trustpilot" (Press release). London: Trust Pilot. 2017-09-14. Archived from the original on 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  33. ^ "Exclusive: Trustpilot review company explains its Purplebricks policy". Estate Agency Today. 2017-09-14. Archived from the original on 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  34. ^ Tom Calvin; Andrew Ellson (22 March 2019). "Estate agents and banks 'gaming' feedback website Trustpilot". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 2019-03-25.
  35. ^ "Property Industry Eye". propertyindustryeye.com. propertyindustryeye.com. 2006-06-12. Retrieved 2020-02-24. THE AWARD-WINNING ONLINE TRADE MAGAZINE
  36. ^ Renshaw, Rosalind. "Trustpilot looking into reviews of estate agents 'at large' as it condemns new claims by allAgents". popertyindustryeye.com. Property Industry Eye. Archived from the original on 2020-02-24. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  37. ^ Joe Lycett's Got Your Back: Joe Lycett EXPLOITS Trustpilot with FAKE Reviews!, 31 May 2020
  38. ^ Trustpilot (29 May 2020). "Joe Lycett's Got Your Back: Our response".
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  40. ^ "What happens after businesses flag reviews?". support.trustpilot.com.
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-10. Retrieved 2018-04-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ "Web design blog. Expert web design articles and industry news". www.webbedfeet.uk. Archived from the original on April 10, 2018.
  43. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-12-25. Retrieved 2019-12-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^ "Trustpilot's Facebook Page Tab". Trustpilot Support Center.
  45. ^ "Add a TrustBox widget to a webpage – Trustpilot Support Center". web.archive.org. March 13, 2020.
  46. ^ "Add a TrustBox widget to a webpage – Trustpilot Support Center". web.archive.org. March 13, 2020.
  47. ^ "Plans & Pricing | Trustpilot Business". web.archive.org. September 17, 2020.
  48. ^ "Trustpilot removed 2.2 million bogus reviews in 2020". BBC News. 2021-02-18. Retrieved 2021-07-27.