Ekomi, GlobalApe.com and negative reviews that don’t get published

I bought a new printer for home a few months ago. An HP 8600 Pro. It uses big and expensive inks, but it’s fast and prints to a lovely quality – Particularly for photos. So I needed a source for genuine HP inks that wasn’t too expensive. I tend to buy a lot online and rely heavily on reviews to see who I can trust. GlobalApe.com weren’t someone I knew, but they had great reviews from Ekomi, so I thought i’d give them a go as they were miles cheaper than anyone else.

The first order took around three weeks to arrive and coincidentally landed on the day after I prompted them as to why they hadn’t arrived. I installed the one I needed and the printer immediately said it was faulty and possibly a fake. Hmmm. It did still seem to work okay though even though the printer wasn’t happy with the ink.

A few days later I got an email from Ekomi asking me to review my purchase with GlobalApe. Naturally I was less than impressed so gave them a one star review. Now Ekomi Don’t like this as it could mess up their clients near perfect 4.8 out of five score. Bear in mind they need to average over 4 out of five to gain Google gold stars and perform far better in Adwords searches – Which is how I found them.

So the mediation begins. I didn’t want to mediate, I just wanted to write a review and carry on with my life. Annerose Kennedy from Global Ape Support has done a perfect job and stalled and stalled and stalled. We are now up to 983 words of correspondence. Annerose has provided a replacement Cyan ink (which arrived in seven days) and still my one star review hasn’t appeared.

So what was the point of the review? If I can’t warn people that in MY experience, the ink took three weeks to arrive and then failed. It calls the whole point of reviews into question and I won’t be buying from organisations that display Ekomi reviews any more as I simply can’t trust them to be truthful. At the top of their reviews page, they claim the following:

  • 100% Independent
  • Absolutely Transparent
  • From Customers for Customers

But it’s not. It’s full of positive reviews as no-one is actually allowed to publish a negative. Sorry, but this is completely wrong – however helpful Annerose Kennedy is and however much they try and mediate me into me withdrawing my negative review.

Global Ape Ekomi reviews - Not worth the space on the Internet
Global Ape Ekomi reviews – Not worth the space on the Internet
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Julie Meyer – Welcome to Entrepreneur Country

I was at an event last night where Julie Meyer was the star attraction. She first made her name in setting up and selling First Tuesday and now heads up Ariadne Capital amongst others.

I was actually lucky enough to be in the small group that got to talk to her for an hour or so beforehand. So than you New College Nottingham for the invite. She was promoting her new book Welcome to Entrepreneur Country through the Gazelle Group of Colleges, but it didn’t really feel like she was peddling a book, it was more as though she was sharing her hard fought wisdom.

But for such a successful woman, she came out with a few things, which I thought were just lovely. The one that struck me as the most amazing was her attitude to work. It’s so far from the 1980’s view of money making, it’s amazing. No more ‘lunch is for wimps’ to be replaced with the brilliant aim..

“I want to work with smart, hardworking good people win” .

Brilliant, simple, exceptional and a nice way of doing business in what she described as the ‘New Normal’ in the economy in which we trade.

I bought the book and got it signed. I’m going to read it next and report back. But if it’s as good as it promises, i’ll be an even bigger fan.

What Chance do Comet and any other electrical retailer have?

What chance Comet and any other underfunded high street retailer?
What chance Comet and any other underfunded high street retailer?

Sadly, on November 2nd Comet slipped into administration. It was probably inevitable, even though it was only purchased by private equity firm OpCapita last year for £2. I guess they overpaid for the 236 stores.

Maybe i’m an idealist, but I do think these stores have a place in the market and this is where I see it.

1. They are brand showrooms. They price match any price anywhere on the Internet. It means they will lose out on some margin on sales to those who are price sensitive, but reward the ones who make all the effort to search for the best online price (like I do). There is no substitute for seeing the product and pressing the buttons and you just can’t get this from a photo online.

2. They then charge for delivery or installation as no Internet retailers seem to offer this.

So, is this possible?

Amazon seem to be able to match any online price pretty closely and whilst they don’t have 236 stores, they still have lots of warehouse space and staff. My suspicion is that the rent and rates on the stores are simply too high to make these spaces pay. I hope Comet survive. Not because I am a fan per-se, but because I believe in choice. I don’t want to just buy from Amazon and John Lewis, but I do want to be rewarded with a better price for my research and for making the effort to drive out to see them in their store.

PS

I just went down to Comet in Nottingham Castle Marina. The only sign of any change at all is an A4 sheet in the window. It isn’t a bad looking store really and the staff I spoke to were all friendly and helpful. The staff have said that anything can be sold at face value only, no gift cards and no discounts. It did look a little like it had been robbed as there were lots of gaps in the stock (particularly in the upstairs bit!). Expect a fire sale soon.

PPS

Interestingly, when they bought the cahain, they said they would focus on low prices http://www.opcapita.com/news/OpCapita-puts-focus-on-value-at-Comet What i’m suggesting is just that.

Social media and genuine engagement

A social media Like isn’t a love. It’s not even a dislike.

I’ve been thinking how much social media has evolved in its short life.

A like on Facebook for business has no value whatsoever. It doesn’t show any level of engagement, it just shows that people want to be seen liking your business as they believe it will make them look good to their own peer group, or they want to enter one of your competitions and this is your entry requirement. So, for example, if you run Vegetarian cooking classes for experts. Some of your followers will want to show how advanced their vegetarian cooking skills are and a ‘like’ positions them as this to their own audience.

In the same way none of us ever need to give to charity any more, we just need to share the tweets and articles of others who write about what they are doing for charity. The most cynical gain all of the charitable halo, without any of the hard work. It gives them the ability to show their peers how benevolent they are and never need to reach into their pockets.

So this is a the REAL battle for business. A like isn’t a friend. it’s an alignment. There must be a way of extracting value from this, but as a stand alone like, a favourite or even a share, it’s still only an indication of a position and not any form of buying signal.

I am convinced that today’s socially savvy have enough ‘friends‘. Whether they know them all or not is a different matter. So, as brand owners, we need to slowly allow them to get to know us and offer them the same courtesy in return. Don’t stick your social media tongue down their throat on a first encounter, but rather allow the relationship to grow and flourish and you’ll have a chance of becoming social lovers.

Try it, see what happens, but feel free to share this with your own audience and i’ll see how wise you really are.