Among the bigger concerns that e-commerce providers have is a rating platform for their merchants and services. While the likes of Amazon, Lazada and bigger players would usually have their own customer service and after-sales support covered, platforms like eBay and Sulit.com.ph would usually rely on the trustworthiness of their individual sellers.
For this purpose, rating systems have been put in place, to enable buyers to rate the services of the sellers (promptness, product quality), and sometimes also for sellers to rate buyers (which can be important in e-commerce platforms that lead to face-to-face transactions).
But of course, rating systems can be gamed, and there’s no stopping unscrupulous sellers from creating fake accounts to leave good ratings and feedbacks. Also, ratings are usually kept within a single platform. So, for instance, ratings on Sulit.com.ph will not appear on an individual seller’s account on another service.
Here’s where GoRated.PH comes in. A finalist at the Echelon 2013 Philippines Satellite, GoRated.PH showcased its “social reputation algorithm” that “makes testimonials social-proof.” According to co-founder Ragde Falcis of Openovate Labs, this helps identify who the fake users are on rating systems.
A bit of background
The idea for GoRated.PH actually evolved from a rating platform similar to Yelp. Ragde, along with co-founder (and former student) Manly Candelaria, started developing the platform in June 2012. However, just this February, they came to the conclusion that they should try out other ideas. “We did push features left and right, talked to our users on how can we improve the platform and did some simple marketing through social networks but it didn’t work as expected.”
As a bootstrapped operation, “throwing money was our last option,” Ragde shared with e27. As such, the team pivoted the idea and turned it into rating widgets instead. The duo decided that rather than spend money on ads, they tested a new idea that could give value to potential paying customers.” He said that a rating platform will only enable paying merchants to derive value if there are already thousands of entries on the rating platform. With the rating widget, users can derive value immediately by being able to share this content across different e-commerce platforms.
The challenges ahead
GoRated.PH built the rating widget and entered into strategic partnerships without outside investment. “Once we get funded, we will increase our brand awareness, acquire more customers and plan to dominate at least 50% of the market share, though majority of the funding will be used to provide more value to our customers, which will convert to more revenue.
GoRated.PH runs on a freemium model and charges PhP 99 (about US$2.50) per month for individual premium users. Ragde intends to implement a geo-targeting approach, which will differentiate pricing across countries and regions. To date, the team has partnered with e-commerce providers like Galleon.PH. “We partnered with the leading courier and logistics provider in Metro Manila with over 55,000 merchants and they agreed to distribute the rating widget to all of their merchant partners. We got the same response with www.philmusic.com which has over 73,000 members.”
But right now, GoRated.PH is focusing on the proverbial low-lying fruit. It targets e-commerce platforms and premium sellers at every classified site. “We are focusing more on acquiring the low hanging fruit which are the premium sellers at every classified sites. What’s good about the rating widget is that it is super-ultra-portable, meaning they don’t need to stay away from all of their current distribution channels.”
GoRated.PH was among the 12 finalists that pitched at the Philippines Satellite earlier this month. If you’d like to know more about about the speakers, startups and investors at Echelon 2013, please visit our website. For 10% off your ticket price, please click here.