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PowerReviews to offer social product reviews

PowerReviews is getting ready to announce a new feature called BrandConnect to help companies make customer reviews more social.

PowerReviews, a company that provides white-label customer review tools for retailers and brands, is preparing to release a service called BrandConnect.

BrandConnect features two elements: Listener and Megaphone. According to Darby Williams, the vice president of marketing at PowerReviews, "Listener will help brands track and understand what their customers really want out of their products."

To do so, PowerReviews first asks users to review a product in more detail than they might be accustomed to. According to Williams, the process will first ask consumers what the pros and cons were of a particular product. It then asks them to describe how they use it.

Listener then examines the data gathered from each review and aggregates responses for the client. Williams contends that the tool's statistical data helps deliver actionable content to PowerReviews' clients.

BrandConnect showing reviews in real time. PowerReviews

Williams said in a phone interview on Wednesday that most companies are averse to negative customer reviews. PowerReviews employs a two-level moderation process. It first analyzes reviews containing "at least one word in the comments and three checked tags" to ensure that no profanity or unnecessary content is included in a respective review. From there, reviews are sent to the client, giving them the option of removing negative reviews or allowing them to stay on the site.

Williams told me that PowerReviews encourages its clients to keep negative reviews in place to maintain credibility, but ultimately, that decision rests with those clients.

BrandConnect will also feature a tool called Megaphone. The company's Megaphone feature gives customers the option to syndicate their reviews to Facebook, Twitter, and their blogs.

BrandConnect showing advocates and detractors. PowerReviews

While they're writing a review, consumers are notified by Megaphone that they can share it when it's complete. They can either use Facebook Connect or log in to Twitter to syndicate their review to the respective social networks. A snippet of about two sentences will be displayed on Facebook, followed by a link to the review. That same form will be displayed on the user's blog, if they choose to syndicate it there. A message will populate Twitter's input box, giving users the option to introduce their review to followers.

PowerReviews said it believes that it's that social element that could significantly improve its clients' ability to drive traffic to their sites. The company makes BrandConnect available to retailers and brands on Tuesday.

Updated at 12:01 p.m. PDT on September 21 to include information on positive reviews.