VICTORIA, British Columbia April 19, 2012 http://Ukritic.com March 22nd, 2012 Chris Rempel Matthew Chitty Victoria, BC
Perhaps the easiest way to accurately summarize the site is to quote a recent comment from Rempel: "Think of us as Squidoo.com or HubPages.com, but specifically for product reviews. And because we allow members to recommend products with affiliate links – there’s a lot of earning potential here for folks that can produce compelling reviews on stuff that’s in high demand."
It’s all based on the premise that the majority of online consumers will research a product – particularly by looking for user reviews – prior to making their purchase. In fact, given the findings from a recent study (by RazorFish) – which states that "61% of people now rely on user reviews before making a purchase decision" – publishing reviews could well be one of the most consistent ways to generate a web-based income as a content writer.
But it’s not a free-for-all, and Ukritic has high content standards. Rempel went on to explain that as a site that facilitates affiliate marketing (where contributors can earn money when their readers buy recommended products), the key to maintaining quality content is through user education, and vigilant moderation.
"We know that being an affiliate-friendly platform is going to invite some riff-raff along the way, and we’re prepared to deal with it. Specifically speaking, every review on Ukritic is actually moderated by editorial staff before it even sees the light of day."
Finally – what about products that aren’t exactly stellar? Does the affiliate-driven model on Ukritic mean that members can only stick to doling out good ratings (or reviewing excellent products) if they want to see their efforts pay off?
Rempel says this was one of their initial development challenges. "We saw this potential logic-hole in the initial planning stage. I mean – why bother spending time to publish a candid review on a product that sucks? It’s a valid question. But in reality, people need to realize that being totally candid and publishing negative reviews is actually one of the more profitable things they can do. Because it helps them gain the readers’ trust, and from there, they can recommend a better option. We make this very easy to do in the review-building dashboard."
On the topic of being candid – Ukritic’s review pages themselves are fully interactive and allow for other users/consumers to chime in and add their own "mini-reviews" and ratings for the product in question (similar to MetaCritic). This adds another layer of trust – because if someone’s sugar-coated a bad product, it’s just a matter of time until disgruntled consumers decide to add their own candid insights on the page.
The bottom line is that Ukritic aims to provide what Rempel and Chitty see as a "void" in the world of user-generated content. Nobody has yet created a professional review platform that isn’t just another mass collection of "blurb reviews," a site with no real publishing incentive – or a network with no standards.
It’s the first honest attempt at combining crowdsourcing with a publishing model in line with quality review sources like TopTenReviews.com. While success isn’t certain – Ukritic is well worth watching for the next while to see what happens …