By Paul Pannone
Information arriving from all segments of the wedding world say it’s time for the subtle extortion tactics created by directory websites to come to an end and very well may. For years vendors say they’ve been marred by false claims and inaccurate information posted about them by consumers. Some wedding vendors swear the false posts are from competitors trying to gain an upper hand but have no proof. In short many have given up fighting the impossible battle of getting human attention to rectify false statements, hoping it gets buried and lost under new information.
In 2010 eWN wrote about the internet wasteland of abandoned websites. David Fuhrer picked up on the story, contacted us and expressed concern for all the growing garbage he felt would eventually clutter the Internet.
“Eventually there will be more outdated, false information than there will be good,” he told eWN.
Fuhrer updated the statement this week saying there is no need for this to happen. According to Fuhrer wedding websites are not maintaining their data if vendor reviews date back to 2006.
“Why does that type of information need to live on their servers? Why would a bride getting married in 2013 need to see posts from 2006; more than likely the vendor is already out of business,” says Fuhrer.
Widespread discussions stemming from weekend coverage of related stories involving Wedding Wire divided supporters and critics of how the website operates, disallowing vendor access to information they feel is inaccurate or improper. Because of years of futilely trying to argue with the format, wedding vendors say they’ve succumb to the reality; nothing can be done.
But wedding experts weighing in on the story encourage their clients to take heart.
Wedding expert, Christine Boulton, told eWedNewz, “I think that the Wedding Wire review &/or endorsement widget are powerful tools on your website. I included it on my clients sites as long as the vast majority of reviews are positive. Today’s bride is so used to reading online reviews for everything from contractors to a book on Amazon that the can spot the bad reviews out of left field easily and then discount them. I further advice my clients that spending money on national wedding portal sites is a waste of money. WITH ONE EXCEPTION and that is WW. I also tell them that they most likely will never get a client directly from WW, but the review widget is powerful and worth the spend.”
Supporters of Wedding Wire agree with Boulton’s analysis saying the company is a leader in the digital market, offering good value for the dollar; but only if you know the ins and outs of knowing how to plug its power into your business needs.
Kelly Werder of No Worries Wedding said,” I’ve Been following your coverage of the Wedding Wire sale. From my own personal experience with my wedding planning company, it brings in more leads than any other site, places you on multiple sites (now including Brides.com) for one reasonable price and offers numerous tech options and enhancements to help small wedding businesses.
You can embed their review widgets right on your website (take a look at MyNoWorriesWedding.com) and they even have created a mobile website option to help wedding businesses create a mobile accessible website (for free!). They are continuously adding value for the benefit of their advertisers – something I applaud and try to emulate with my own digital magazine.”
Angela Bauter in Milwaukee feels there’s too much attention for the Samantha Goldberg review on Wedding Wire.
So far, majority support went to the crusade undertaking of Celebrity planner, Samantha Goldberg. Goldberg blasted Wedding Wire for giving her a hard time with a single bad review, feeling she wasn’t fairly treated. The exposure gained some criticism from readers that felt the story was over-blown.
Angela Bauter in Milwaukee wrote,” Someone left Samantha Goldberg a bad review. Whether it was justified or not, I don’t know. But bad reviews that aren’t fully true or justified, they happen. To any business. At some point in time, somewhere, someone is probably going to leave a bad review that isn’t necessarily deserved. If this review had been left at other locations- such as Yelp- it probably wouldn’t have been taken down either. At least on WW, one can ask them to verify that were was actually a contract for services, so that a competitor cannot just fake a review.
As a business owner, it’s best to be aware that this kind of thing can happen, and to respond shortly and professionally. I don’t feel that this review warrants the kind of attention and response that it has been given.”
Goldberg reiterated she plans to move forward in whatever way necessary and fight the fight for small business owners that do not have the means to stand up to what she called extortion. So far there’s been a flood of negativity towards wedding website directory listings, balanced by supporters that feel a disproportionate amount positive or negative reviews allows consumers to gauge credibility of the business on their own.
Christine Boulton agreed with eWedNewz saying, “The people who support Wedding Wire probably don’t have bad reviews or may not even be aware they’re on there. The ones that have an issue have probably been burned and have since stopped supporting the website; be it Wedding Wire or any website.”
What do you say? Does Wedding Wire or any wedding website have that strong a hold over your business? Will a relatively small percentage of bad reviews ruin a lifetime of achievement? Feel free to take the poll or comment on the discussion.
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