We've released Frendex.com into Beta and we want your feedback!

A Little Background

About three months ago, the founders of Frendex approached us with an idea for a software service and a prototype. The idea was simple - recommendations for products and services from your friends.

The problem they were trying to solve has to do with the way reviews sites work and how they make their money. Reviews sites bring in revenue by charging fees to the businesses listed on their websites. If you don't pay the fee, the website controls what reviews are shown on your page. This means that even if you only have 2 negative reviews out of 30, those two reviews will show up front and center. You also have no option to respond to or address the bad reviews.

That's when a phone call comes letting the business owner know a negative review was posted and that they have to pay a monthly fee if they want to be able to do anything about it. (See "extortion.") Pay the fee and you can publicly respond to reviews and suddenly those 2 negative reviews are gone from your company's page; or don't, and suffer the consequences.

These sites are also notorious for bogus reviews. It's very easy for someone to create an account (or 10) and write a positive review for their own business. It's just as easy to write negative reviews of your competitors. When that happens, now they also need to pay the fee to get them removed.

This puts the review site's goals at direct odds with yours. You just want a place you can go to quickly find a recommendation for a quality business to deal with. Instead you're inundated with bogus reviews and bad information.

Then there's the information overload. These days just about everybody on these sites seems to fancy themselves a professional food critic. Some simply have nothing better to do than write 1,000-word recap of their entire experience just because. Who has time for all that, especially if you're just looking for a reliable plumber fast because your basement is flooding!

About Frendex

All of these problems are the reason Frendex was founded. The idea is simple: No reviews, no negatives; just recommendations from people you know and trust.

Where You Come In

Now that Frendex is officially in Beta, we're looking for early adopters to use the service and tell us what you like, what you don't like, and what you think we should do next. This is just the beginning (remember my article about minimum viable products?!), so this is your chance to get in on the ground floor and help drive the direction of this fledgling product.

So head over to Frendex.com and create an account. Currently a Facebook account is required to use the service (this is the best way for us to connect you with your friends - Frendex only works with friends!). As you use the product, use the "Support" link at the bottom of the page to send an email to the team or connect with Frendex on Twitter. Please be critical but helpful, and we hope to see you on Frendex soon!

Chris Searles is President of Searles Media and specializes in helping small businesses maximize their available resources to market themselves effectively using a wide variety of media. Visit Website

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