THERE ARE TIMES I am so upset about poor quality service or about buying an inferior product that I just want to scream. Now I focus my frustrations by sending my comments directly to LouderVoice, an Irish website that is “all about reviews but with a big difference.” Perched at LouderVoice.com, this simple little site lets you review things online, by text, or while you write at Twitter, Jaiku or Pownce.
Many readers may find some of these terms rather foreign but most people are familiar with feedback forms at restaurants, car dealerships, and hotels. The LouderVoice format is much the same. You write the word “review” then a rating from one to five and then the name of the thing you’re reviewing, followed by a colon. A few words about what you feel and that’s it. Once you send the review, it appears on the LouderVoice website for comments by others.
People have reviewed websites, podcasts, Irish roads, restaurants, wines, computer technology, jeans, ice cream, baby formula, movies—anything in life. Flicking through the review pages online sometimes leads to major rants on other sites, to photos on Flickr or to podcast segments where you can hear the ranting about a bad meal taken to yet another level.
This is the way the worldwide web should be. LouderVoice’s head developer, Conor O’Neill from Bandon, says, “Instead of expecting you to spend time and effort writing reviews for us, we're about your reviews on your blog building your reputation.”
LouderVoice has enjoyed some international attention during the past two months. They were selected for the final 30 of the Le Web 3 Start-Up competition in Paris in December—the only Irish company to make it through the tough selection process. They got the of prominent analysts who have investment interests.
LouderVoice uses elegant tools built around the well-proven hReview format. This microformat follows an accepted international standard, which means that information created for LouderVoice can easily slot into other formats, like blogs. So when I write a review on the LouderVoice website, it automatically appears on my InsideView.ie blog. If I move my blog, my reviews move with me.
You don’t have to blog to write a LouderVoice review. I introduced teens to the idea of mini reviews and they started writing them straight away on their mobile phones, using up to 400 characters. If the latest trend to microblogging sites like Twitter and Jaiku continues, people will start migrating towards writing short and snappy sentences instead of long blog posts. The past year, more Irish bloggers have moved towards shortened ways of blogging with Twitter and Jaiku. It looks like more people will pick up microblogging as their primary way of connecting to a mainstream Irish audience online.
Microblogs can restrict you to 140 characters when posting online and those short sentences can be used as “LouderTweets” when reviewing things. I have sent a few reviews, attracting the attention of people in other countries. They were interested because you don’t have to be a LouderVoice member to send LouderTweets. You just follow the specific “review” format and behind the scenes, whatever you review becomes integrated on the LouderVoice front page for others to see.
This is very potent feedback when it happens in the middle of a political debate or a football match where people send their ratings from one to five along with concise comments about participants. In real time, you can watch the reviews flow in.
Some reviewers who use Jaiku have discovered that their comments land them on the first page of search engine results for the item they reviewed. You should try this for yourself. Go to LouderVoice.com and simply type in your mobile phone number. After a few minutes, you need to respond to a text message confirmation. Then review something like this column by sending a standard text to 087 9409325. Your review might be about this column, so you would send in this format: Review 3 InsideView: Helpful tips on how to review things by just using my phone. Of course, you might want to change the number to the max value of five or the minimum of one. Then your review will appear online within seconds at the bottom of the front page of LouderVoice.
Do it and you may win a t-shirt. You can find out more on the LouderVoice web site.
Bernard Goldbach, Irish Examiner -- "Reviews with a difference at LouderVoice" in Money & Jobs, 1 February 2008.
I am topgold on LouderVoice.