Epinions, Boing Boing Illustrates Rise in Transparent Brands

February 3, 2010Sparxoo


With access to more information than ever before, consumers can be savvier buyers. We have the power to make more informed decisions through online tools, such as Google. More importantly, we’re able to better trust our judgment, and go with our instincts. Whether it’s choosing our next elected representative or just debating between some items at the grocery store, we have access to all of the information we need, as long as we’re willing to put some time into making those decisions count. In the business world, human instincts play a big part in relationships, both personally and professionally. By understanding our instincts as well as the thought process of others, we’re able to make those relationships stronger than ever, and make lasting personal connections.


Transparency – As more and more businesses recognize how much transparency initiatives can do, they’re quick to form new policies to give more power to the customer while growing the business as well. Ralph Lauren is an example of a company that learned a valuable lesson about transparency. The clothing company sent a heated letter to blog superstar, Boing Boing, demanding the site take down a criticism of its ad. In the spirit of transparency, Boing Boing published the letter on their site along with a long, detailed article of their communication. Shortly thereafter, Boing Boing’s criticism of Ralph Lauren could be found in the top five results in a Google search for the brand.

Epinons – Nearly every online retailer provides the opportunity for customer feedback and product reviews on products, Amazon.com being a major proponent of customer reviews and feedback. What few people realize, however, is that many companies censor product reviews, allowing only favorable ones to make it through to the end. Luckily, independent sites have been created to do what the others can’t – provide open and honest feedback and reviews of nearly every product or service on the market today. A popular site is Epinions.com, which features “unbiased reviews from real people.” Unlike Consumer Reports (which often requires a paid subscription), Epinions provides their services free of charge. Armed with tools like these, it’s much easier to make an informed decision while relying on your instincts as well.


  • 77 percent of online shoppers use reviews and ratings when making purchasing decisions
  • Epinions’ unique visitors grew from 3.8 million in Sept. 2009 to 4.5 million in Dec of the same year

Take Aways

In our fast paced society, digital tools help us make quicker decisions about real-time information. Companies can leverage these tools to refine their digital strategies quickly and efficiently. For instance Quantcast enables webmasters to better understand both audience demographics and psychographics.

We’ve come to be more accepting of others’ mistakes, especially those who hold a lot of power or celebrity. Recognizing that everyone makes mistakes, and that we’re all human, cuts down on the pressure to be perfect. Admitting to these mistakes and taking responsibility for his or her actions may not gain everyone’s respect back, it certainly makes a difference in the long run. Facebook fan sites where companies allow people to post the good, the bad and the ugly on a corporate site and then use that vehicle for customer service to address and remedy the situation. Through social media and reviews, brand relationships are in real-time and tangible.


  • Laws will be put in place banning retailers from censoring product reviews
  • Facebook or other social media sites will show where information has been modified, adulterated
  • More processes will be in place to make sure reviews are truly customer generated


Who’s On Trend

  • JetBlue
  • Amazon
  • Epinions

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

Image by Mateusz Kapciak from Stock.Xchng