Pownum is a complaint aggregator located in Northhampton, England. As with many internet sites, they come with a global reach. They have some interesting twists in their value proposition, that were not mentioned in a earlier article on complaint aggregators.
Pownum (short for Power in Numbers) collects complaints and provides ratings and reviews of organizations: businesses, governments agencies and not for profits On their website, they claim to have tens of thousands of companies on their data base. Users can add any new organization they want. Pownum’s complaint site adds a few extra twists.
1. The organization that is the subject of a complaint or a bad rating, has the ‘right of reply’ but businesses have to pay a fee (based on the size of the organization) to be able to do so. (Government agencies and not for profits do not have to pay a fee.) Fees range from $375.00 per year USD for companies with revenue less than $3.75 Million USD up to $15,000 USD a year for companies earning $750 Million USD in revenue and up. Once the fee is paid, their ‘right of reply’ section can also be used for general communication with the public.
2. An iPhone App links consumers to Pownum’s site to enter complaints and reviews. Complaint ratings are numbers from 0 to 10; reviews are the reasons for the ratings in words . Ratings and reviews are assembled and can be input from a mobile device. . In this way, dissatisfied customers can voice their dissatisfaction without waiting to get back to their computer. The other feature is the ability to access reviews about organizations on their site as well. Currently only the iPhone app is available from Pownum but other platforms are planned according to their FAQ. (Note Yelp also provides an app for smart phones.)
3. Half of what Pownum collects in fees from organizations is given to charity that users nominate. A short list is created every month, based on nominations and voting by users allows them to pick their favorite charity to receive funding this month. The offer to donate to charity is publicized on their website. This appeal to the consumer’s charitable emotion differentiates them from other ‘complaint sites’, giving customers a reason to prefer to leave their complaint on this site rather than others.
The complaint aggregator space is evolving. There is no doubt that consumers are getting the upper hand in being able to express their dissatisfaction with organizations. With the proliferation of complaint and review sits, businesses, government and not for profits are challenged to keep up. How many do they follow? How many annual fees will they pay?
On a positive note, users can also to find locations in their area which have positive peer reviews. This is good for the consumer and a lead generator for businesses. Customer Satisfaction has never been so important in the social media and mobile world.
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